Stanford College Cup bound for third straight season
Nov. 26, 2010
Courtesy of Stanford Athletics
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford proved to the rest of the country that it's peaking just in time, after erupting for four second-half goals in a 5-0 rout of Florida State on Friday night in an NCAA women's soccer quarterfinal between No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.
Stanford (22-0-2) is College Cup bound for the third consecutive season and will play either Washington or Boston College in the semifinals Friday in Cary, N.C.
Stanford got five goals by five different players, continuing a trend this postseason of scoring contributions from all around. The Cardinal has outscored its four NCAA opponents by a combined 13-1 and its goals have come from nine different players.
"Our entire team is top quality and I think that any of them are capable of scoring at any time," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "I'm proud that the whole team is stepping up and making a difference, and each player is making an impact."
Senior captain Christen Press was held to six shots by Florida State (16-6-1), the No. 2 seed in their 16-team NCAA quadrant, but still broke or tied two Stanford scoring records with a goal and an assist in her final match at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, before a crowd of 2,135.
On the first goal, Press ran down a long ball from Alina Garciamendez at the end line and sent a first-touch pass across to Mariah Nogueira, who headed the ball over the left shoulder of goalkeeper Kelsey Wys in the 31st minute for her fifth goal of the season. It was Press' 41st career assist, breaking the mark of 40 held since 2004 by Marcie Ward.
Press later tipped in a long pass from Annie Case into the box past a defender and goalkeeper for her 26th goal of the season, matching Kelley O'Hara's year-old single-season record.
Other goals were scored by Lindsay Taylor on a far-post header on Camille Levin's 11th assist of the season.
Teresa Noyola and Marjani Hing-Glover closed out the scoring, in the 78th and 86th minutes, respectively. Noyola struck a first-timer at the top of the box after Sydney Payne dummied the ball through, and Hing-Glover blasted a right-footed shot on the run after Morgan Redman's through ball hit her in stride.
"We attack from all angles," Press said. "Even when teams play defensive, we try to get around them, over the top, and try different things."
Stanford closed its home season with its 35th consecutive home victory, and 12th consecutive home NCAA victory. It also was Stanford's 14th shutout of the season and ninth for freshman goalkeeper Emily Oliver, who was not required to make a save, but was spectacular in intercepting corner kicks and crosses in heavy traffic.
"Our best defense is our offense," Oliver said. "We keep the ball really well in the back. When we have the ball, there's no way that they can attack us."
Florida State initially disrupted Stanford's ball-control attack, but as the match wore on, the Cardinal took over, controlling possession, stringing together passes, probing the defense, and attacking when there was an opening.
Press struck a volley off that was redirected off the crossbar by goalkeeper Kelsey Wys in the fifth minute, and Noyola blasted a 30-yarder that struck the far post later in the first half.
"We probably haven't been under the quality of pressure all season long," Florida State coach Mark Krikorian said. "The quality of their play, their movement off the ball. They have very good players all over the field. We can certainly look at some of our faults in our defending, but sometimes credit needs to go where credit is due."
Stanford advances to the semifinals for the fourth time in its history, but never with the momentum it carries right now, having outscored its opponents, 36-2, over its past 12 matches.