Nov. 12, 2010

Courtesy of Stanford Athletics

STANFORD, Calif. - No. 1 Stanford took the first step in the NCAA tournament by defeating Sacramento State, 3-0, in front of 1,808 fans at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. Stanford dominated play, but did not end the scoreless draw until the 66th minute on a goal from Sydney Payne.

The Cardinal improved to 19-0-2 and advances to face No. 19 Santa Clara (13-6-2), who knocked off Long Beach State, 1-0, in first game at Cagan Stadium.

Stanford outshot Sacramento State 42-3 for the game, but it was one near miss after another until Payne ended the scoreless tie. In the first half alone, the Cardinal hit four crossbars, including a bending Teresa Noyola free kick that looked as if it was perfectly placed in the upper 90.

Savannah Abercrombie was outstanding in goal for Sacramento State, making five saves in the first half and 11 for the game. She made a pair of saves on Christen Press shots including one on a curling shot from distance and one by tipping a chip over the bar.

In the second half, Stanford continued to control possession and create chances. Press finished with 15 shots, including five on goal to lead the Cardinal.

To boost the attack, head coach Paul Ratcliffe subbed in Payne at the 63rd minute and just three minutes later she would end the scoreless draw.

The goal was Payne's second of the season. It came after Rachel Quan played a ball wide to Camille Levin who crossed it to the Cardinal freshman. Payne needed just one touch for the finish with her back to the goal.

Payne was not done though as she would help set up the next two goals as well.

In the 82nd minute, Payne found Taylor McCann after controlling a ball in the box. McCann's goal was her second of the season and put the game away for Stanford.

In the 86th minute, Nina Watkins scored her first goal of the season, again assisted by Payne.

The Cardinal will now have less than 48 hours to prepare for Santa Clara who it defeated 2-0 during the regular season. The Cardinal and Broncos will meet Sunday at 1pm back at Cagan Stadium.