Stanford 5, Southern California 4

May 14, 2005



ANN ARBOR, Mich. Stanford sophomore Meredith McColl made a power-play save with two seconds left to preserve a 5-4 victory for the Cardinal over No. 2 seed Southern Cal on Saturday (May 14) in the semifinal of the NCAA Championship at the University of Michigan's Canham Natatorium. Senior Hannah Luber scored the eventual game-winner for Stanford with 3:55 to play in the match. With the victory, Stanford advances to the championship match for the fourth time in the past five years.

Southern Cal seized the early lead with a goal by sernior Eszter Gyoir on the Trojans second possession of the game and then made the count 2-0 with a power-play marker by junior Moriah Van Norman with 3:39 to play in the first quarter. Stanford answered one minute later to with a goal by junior Scotti Shafer to make the score 2-1 at the end of the first period.

After each team scored once in the second quarter to make the score 3-2 at the half, Stanford took control of the game with a pair of goals in the third frame to take a 4-3 lead into the fourth quarter. Sophomore Katie Hansen knotted the game at 3-3 with 5:11 to play in the third and two minutes later junior Nancy El-Sakkary scored the go-ahead goal for the Cardinal.

Stanford continued to control the match, pushing its lead to 5-3 midway through the fourth quarter with Luber's second marker of the match. Southern Cal began its comeback bid with a goal power-play goal by sophomore Brittany Hayes from the right side of the cage. Hayes slipped the ball just inside the right post to cut Stanford's lead to one, 5-4 with two minutes to play.

With 20 seconds to play in the match, Stanford was whistled for an ejection foul, giving Southern Cal a chance to tie the game and send it into overtime. The Trojans fired a shot across the cage from the right side of the net, but McColl was there to make the stop and seal the victory for the Cardinal.

Stanford (22-6) will face No. 1 UCLA in the championship match on Sunday (May 15) at 4:30 p.m., while Southern Cal will take on No. 4 Hawaii in the third-place match on Sunday (May 15) at 3 p.m.

QUOTES

Stanford Head Coach John Tanner
On the game ... "We played well, even when behind. Ironically, yesterday I talked about how well we did in six-on-fives and five-on-six situations and that's what they did well today. We played good defense and had excellent goalkeeping and our shots came through."

On his team's goaltending ... "Meredith played well last time against them, getting 19 saves, so I think they realized that they'd have to do something special to score on her. She has good positioning and has a good knowledge of the shooters."

On Sunday's final against UCLA ... "Our team is ready to play well tomorrow. UCLA has been ready all year. We're focused on enjoying the experience of being at the NCAA championships and being here as a team. We respect UCLA, its coaching staff and its players. A lot of our girls are good friends with their girls, but tomorrow they will be #12 and #9. We've played UCLA so many times in the past and sometimes the ball goes our way and sometimes it goes their way. The first two games we played against them this year were tight and the third, well, UCLA got off to a good start and it wasn't so close. We'll do the same thing we always do against them, play team defense and have energy on offense."

Stanford Sophomore Goalkeeper Meredith McColl
On her first NCAA Championship game ... "We have confidence in ourselves this year. We've played close games all year and we play with our hearts so we have a chance any day."

On UCLA ... "We're not afraid. I'm excited. I like challenges and I like facing shots. I'll take shots from Olympians or from other players. We'll have some team bonding tonight - top secret stuff. We embrace each other so well as a team and it's great to play with these girls."

-- Courtesy Michigan