Aug. 20, 2010

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - There will be no perfect season for the Stanford women's soccer team after the Cardinal played to a 1-1 draw against Boston College in a double-overtime season-opening nonconference contest between top-10 teams Friday night.

Last season, Stanford won its first 25 matches before falling in the NCAA final, beating Boston College along the way, 3-1, in a home quarterfinal match. But Boston College gained a semblance of revenge by tying the score in the 64th minute, only eight minutes after Lindsay Taylor had given Stanford the lead on a scorching 23-yard shot to the top left corner.

However, the Eagles answered on a counterattack with Stanford pushing forward. A long pass from Kristie Mewis found Natalie Crutchfield, who won a footrace to the ball and chipped it over Stanford goalkeeper Kira Maker in a one-on-one situation.

Stanford pushed hard for the winner, outshooting the Eagles, 7-0, in the two 10-minute overtime periods. Christen Press had two good chances in the first overtime, and Mariah Nogueira was denied by a save on a diving header from five yards out.

Late in the second overtime, a Press corner kick found Morgan Redman for a header that goalkeeper Jillian Mastroianni tipped over the crossbar with three seconds left.

"We definitely dominated the game," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "It was not a bad result by any stretch - Boston College is a top-10 team. But, by the same token, we were disappointed we didn't win that game."

Stanford outshot Boston College 22-9 and forced Mastroianni into 10 saves. Maker had three.

"It's early in the season, but we've got to be sharper on our finishing," Ratcliffe said.

Stanford is ranked No. 2 in the NSCAA coaches' poll and Boston College, a defending Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season co-champion, is No. 7. Such is the talent on the two rosters that six players competed in July's FIFA Under-20 World Cup and three others are on the 45-player watch list for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer's top honor.

With two spots on defense to fill following the graduation of two starters, Ratcliffe went with versatile junior Camille Levin at left outside back and erstwhile forward Courtney Verloo, a sophomore, in central defense.

Freshman Sydney Payne made her collegiate debut in place of Hermann Trophy winner Kelley O'Hara on the frontline alongside Taylor and Press.

"The beginning of the game was a little choppy and erratic," Ratcliffe said. "But we settled in after 15 minutes and began to play a lot better."

Taylor, a junior forward, moved into a tie for 10th with Dena Dey (1992-95) on Stanford's all-time career scoring list, with 60 points.

Stanford resumes play Sunday (4 p.m. PT) against three-time defending America East Conference champion Boston University at historic Nickerson Field, the site of the former Braves Field, the longtime home of baseball's Boston Braves. The Cardinal resumes its 12-day trip with rematch of the 2009 NCAA final against North Carolina on Friday in Chapel Hill, N.C.