No. 18 Cardinal Set to Battle No. 3 Santa Clara

Sept. 26, 2006

Stanford, Calif. -

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This Week: The Stanford women's soccer team begins the second half of the 2006 season on Saturday, heading south for the annual showdown with Bay Area rival Santa Clara. Kickoff for the match, the final non-conference contest for the Cardinal before start of Pac-10 play, is set for 7 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara.

On The Horizon: Stanford begins Pac-10 competition on Oct. 6, with likely the most challenging weekend of the conference season. First, the Cardinal will meet the Trojans of USC in Los Angeles, a team that boasts a 7-2-1 record this year. Two days later, on Oct. 8, the team will take on No. 5 UCLA, the defending Pac-10 Champion. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. against the Trojans and 1 p.m. against the Bruins.

So Far This Season: Stanford is 7-3-0 so far in 2006 and has shutout opponents in seven of its last eight matches. During the opening weekend, the Cardinal dropped two close matches to Utah and then-No. 23 Wake Forest at the Santa Clara/adidas Classic. Stanford then cruised past San Francisco, Cal Poly, Rutgers and Long Island, holding all four opponents scoreless. At the Stanford Nike Invitational, Stanford was edged by No. 10 Tennessee, 1-0, before blanking No. 24 Boston University, 3-0. On Friday night, Stanford topped UC Irvine 2-0, while out-shooting the Anteaters 27-1. On Sunday, Stanford dropped San Diego State, 4-0, behind two first half goals by senior Shari Summers.

The Back Line: The Cardinal defense has been an important part of Stanford's winning ways so far in 2006. As a team, the Cardinal has allowed just one goal since Aug. 27 and limited opponents to just eight shots on frame. In each of the last seven games, Stanford has held opponents to five shots or less, while taking double-digit shots on each occasion. Each of the last eight Cardinal opponents has been held to two shots on goal or less and goalkeeper Alex Gamble has been required to make just four saves.

The Front Line: The Cardinal has had no trouble putting offensive numbers on the board this season. So far in 2006, Stanford has had three 20+ shot games, a feat accomplished just once in 2005. Additionally, Stanford's 19 goals in eight games marks the most prolific scoring streak since the 2002 season, when the Cardinal went 21-1-1 and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. The team's three consecutive multiple-goal wins are also a best since that season. At the midpoint this year, the 21 goals scored by the Cardinal, are one more than the team scored total in 2005.

Newcomer Notes: The Cardinal freshman fivesome continues to be an important key to Stanford's success. Since her return on Sept. 8, Kelley O'Hara has scored three goals for the Cardinal, including her first career game-winner against UC Irvine on Friday night. Kristin Stannard, a Midlothian, Va. native, netted her third career goal on Sunday in the win over San Diego State. Ali Riley scored a pair of goals on Stanford's east coast swing, while Alicia Jenkins has started all 10 games, taken eight shots and netted her first collegiate goal. Katie Riley has become a staple of the Cardinal back line, having started the last nine games and been a major player in all seven Cardinal shutouts. As a group, the Stanford freshmen have been responsible for nearly half of the Cardinal goals and more than a third of all Cardinal shots.

Summers Steps Up: Senior captain Shari Summers has taken the lead in scoring this season, and now tops the Cardinal with 12 points on the year. This past weekend alone, the Canyon Country, Calif. native scored more times than she has in any of her previous three seasons on the Farm. With three goals in two games, she helped power the Cardinal to a pair of solid wins. On Friday night, she cracked a shot off the right post and into the goal in the 55th minute to give the Cardinal a 2-0 lead. Two days later, Summers spurred the Cardinal offense with two unassisted goals in a six minute span. The midfielder now has six goals and four gamewinners on the season.

Ratcliffe Gets Number 40: Cardinal Head Coach Paul Ratcliffe earned his 40th Stanford win on Sunday, when the team topped San Diego State. Ratcliffe is in his fourth year with the Cardinal and has now accumulated a 40-25-8 (.603) record at Stanford and a 95-59-15 (.607) career record. In his time on the Farm, he has led the Cardinal to a trio of NCAA Tournament appearances and three-straight 10+ win seasons.

The Series with Santa Clara: Stanford is 7-17-4 all-time against the local Broncos, but claimed a win in the most recent meeting between the two schools. Exactly one year ago, on Sept. 30, 2005, Rachel Buehler knocked in her first career goal and helped the Cardinal pull its biggest upset of the season with a 1-0 win over the No. 5 Broncos. The Bronco-Cardinal meetings have a history of being close, as three of the last four have been decided by one goal or less and two of the last three have gone to overtime. In the last six meetings, Stanford and Santa Clara are tied scoring-wise, having each scored four total goals against each other in the course of those six contests.

Scouting the Broncos: Santa Clara is coached by Jerry Smith, who is in his 20th season at the helm of the Broncos. The team returns all but one starter from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals and posted a 17-5-2 record. So far this season, the Broncos are 8-2, and are coming off wins over No. 14 Cal State Fullerton and No. 3 UCLA. Nine of the ten Santa Clara opponents have been in the polls this season, giving the Broncos seven wins over ranked teams. Junior Megan Snell leads Santa Clara with seven goals this season, including four game-winners. Senior Marian Dalmy and junior Brittany Klein each have a pair of goals on the year, while freshman Kiki Bosio has notched a goal and four assists. The Broncos average 1.57 goals per game to the 2.10 scored by the Cardinal. The teams have played four common opponents this year, No. 23 Utah, Tennessee, No. 12 Wake Forest and No. 10 Boston University. Stanford scored a combined five goals against the four opponents, while Santa Clara scored three.

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