Lo'eau LaBonta scored two second-half goals to allow top-ranked Stanford to rally past No. 6 UCLA, 2-1, in an NCAA women's soccer quarterfinal Friday night and advance to its fifth consecutive NCAA College Cup.
The Cardinal (20-1-1) will play No. 13 North Carolina (13-5-3) on Friday, Nov. 30, at the University of San Diego's Torero Stadium at time to be determined. No. 7 Florida State (20-3-0) will play No. 5 Penn State (20-3-2) in the other semifinal. The championship match is Dec. 2 at 1 p.m.
"The College Cup is an unbelievable experience and we're really happy to be back there, and we're hoping we can come back with another national championship," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said.
LaBonta scored both Stanford goals after corner kicks by Courtney Verloo. The sophomore tied the match in the 55th minute when a shot by Sydney Payne to the far post was redirected by LaBonta from point-blank range.
She scored the winner when a shot by Alex Doll was blocked into LaBonta's path. Her first-touch shot from five yards scored easily in the 69th minute.
"We were down 1-0 and we just really are a second half team," LaBonta said. "We have great goal scorers. So when Sydney [Sydney Payne lined up to wind up and take a shot, I was like, 'This is a great goalkeeper. It may ricochet off her.' Luckily, it went right to me and I was wide open in front of goal. Then the second one, it was a corner kick and we work on it all the time where Courtney Verloo sends it in, and then Alex Doll shouldered the goalkeeper and was trying to get one. But luckily, I was right there and I had the easy job, and just tapped it in."
Stanford's 10-player senior class completed their home careers with a 52-0-1 record at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. The victory also extended Stanford's home unbeaten streak to 67.
UCLA (18-3-2) opened the scoring on a 25-yard shot by Samantha Mewis in the eighth minute, and outshot Stanford, 13-12. But Stanford ultimately earned its seventh consecutive victory in the series and third in four years over the Bruins in the NCAA tournament.
"This whole season, we've played huge games and in front of a lot of people already," Senior defender Rachel Quon said. "It's just another game that we have to put away, it's business as usual and we'll take it one game a time. I think they know we trust them and they trust us, so they're just going to come out and hopefully do what we do."
Men's water polo
Alex Bowen's sixth goal of the day, 26 seconds into the first sudden-death overtime period, ended a wild quarterfinal matchup at the MPSF Championship Friday afternoon, giving Stanford a 14-13 win over Long Beach State at McDonald's Swim Stadium in Los Angeles.
The Cardinal (16-5) advances to the semifinal round where it takes on host and No. 1 USC at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Along with the six goals from Bowen, Stanford also got production from BJ Churnside's four goals, two from Bret Bonanni and one apiece from Andrew LaForge and Forrest Watkins.
On the other end of the pool goalie Scott Platshon made 10 saves.
The contest was wild from the start as the teams combined for 15 first-half goals. Stanford opened up with five first-period scores and three more in the second to take a slim 8-7 lead into the halftime break.
That lead increased to 10-8 by the end of the third frame, leaving the Cardinal eight minutes from advancing. Long Beach State would have other ideas, however, breaking out for three goals and limiting Stanford to one in the final period to level things up at 11-all.
Both teams went scoreless in the first of the two three-minute overtime periods, and the drama picked up over the second session as the teams equaled one another with a pair of goals apiece.
This set up the three-minute sudden-death overtime, in which both teams sought the coveted golden goal to end things. That golden goal would go to the Cardinal just 26 seconds into the frame, as Bowen fired home to send Stanford into the semifinal round.
Chasson Randle broke out of a 3-point shooting slump and scored a game-high 21 points to lead Stanford to a 66-50 victory over Northern Iowa on Friday in the consolation semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Known as a good shooter, Randle had a rough start to the season, making 3-22 from beyond the arc in the Cardinal's first five games. He finished 4-6 on Friday and made one with 8:12 left after Northern Iowa closed to 49-45. That started an 11-2 scoring run that put the game away. Stanford was 8-19 from beyond the arc.
"It is always good to see the ball go in. It is all about confidence," Randle said. "If you get that confidence and you see the ball go in, you start feeling that things will go well for you. I want to work towards where when I don't see the ball going in, I still keep that confidence and still continue to play well."
Stanford (4-2) will meet Minnesota (5-1) in the fifth-place game Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT. The Golden Gophers beat No. 19 Memphis 84-75 in the first game of the day.
At the other end of the spectrum for the Cardinal, Dwight Powell, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the 78-70 opening-round loss to No. 13 Missouri, had two points on 0-3 shooting and two rebounds while battling foul trouble in 17 minutes.
Andy Brown picked up the scoring load, though, finishing with a career-high 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting while grabbing six boards and collecting four steals.
"You want to bounce back as fast as you can," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "We talked about how we had to go out and compete and play well. And our guys did, and responded to the kind of challenge I gave them. I was so proud of our effort, especially in the second half."
The Panthers stayed even on the boards at 31-31 with the Cardinal but they committed 16 turnovers that Stanford converted into 26 points. Stanford had 10 turnovers, only two in the second half when it pulled away from a 30-30 tie.
NOTES: Chasson Randle notched his seventh career 20-point game and third of the season, following up Thursday's 22-point effort against No. 13 Missouri ... Andy Brown established career highs in points (15), field goals (7), rebounds (6) and minutes (29) ... John Gage chipped in with 10 points off the bench for the second straight game, grabbing five rebounds and knocking down two three-pointers ... Chasson Randle has made 13 consecutive free throws while Dwight Powell has connected on his last 10 attempts ... In nine career games played on a neutral court, Chasson Randle is averaging 17.3 points while shooting 48.9 percent (47-96) from the field, 44.8 percent (22-49) from three-point territory and 83.3 percent (40-48) from the foul line ... Stanford held a 36-12 edge in bench scoring ... Stanford and Northern Iowa were tied 30-30 at halftime, representing the first time since Jan. 27, 2011 (29-29 vs. Oregon), that the Cardinal and its opponent were even at intermission ... The Cardinal connected on eight three-pointers, equaling its total from the previous two games combined ... Robbie Lemons was efficient once again off the bench, chipping in with five points and three boards. Lemons entered this weekend with 11 points in 23 career games. He has scored 10 points combined over the last two games.
The second-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team concluded the regular season with a 25-20, 25-22, 25-19 win at California, Friday, at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. The Cardinal moves to 27-3 overall and 19-1 in the Pac-12, while the Bears drop to 15-15 overall and 9-11 in the conference.
Stanford was led by freshman middle blocker Inky Ajanaku, who totaled 10 kills, four blocks and a career high four assists. Junior Carly Wopat added eight kills on 15 swings with no errors for a .533 attack percentage, while freshman Jordan Burgess finished with eight kills and 10 digs. Junior Rachel Williams recorded seven kills and four blocks, while freshman Brittany Howard tallied six kills ad nine digs.
Freshman setter Madi Bugg controlled the offense with 24 assists and registered seven digs, four kills and two blocks. Sophomore libero recorded 25 digs to lead all players, marking the 13th time this season she has reached the 20-dig plateau. As a team, Stanford hit .267, while Cal posted a .165 attack percentage in the match.
Stanford captured a 25-20 win in the opening set over Cal. The Cardinal outhit the Bears, .316 to .225, and recorded three blocks. Stanford, which led the entire set, got four kills from Howard and three from Ajanaku, while Burgess and Wopat each had two. Defensively, Gilbert collected six digs to lead the team, while Ajanaku and Bugg tallied two blocks apiece. Cal's Shannon Hawari paced the Bears with six kills.
he Cardinal came from behind to capture the second set, 25-22. Cal jumped out to an early lead, but a block by Williams and Wopat tied the set at 20-20. The pair then recorded two kills each and connected on another block to propel Stanford to the victory. Stanford posted a .216 hitting percentage in the set, while holding Cal to a .098 clip. The Cardinal defense kept the team close, led by 11 digs from Gilbert. Howard and Wopat racked up four digs apiece. Offensively, Williams led the way with four kills, while Ajanaku, Burgess and Wopat put down three each. Cal outside hitter Adrienne Gehan registered five kills to lead the Bears.
Stanford completed the sweep with a 25-19 victory in the third set. The score remained close early as the Bears tied it up five times. However, a 4-1 run in the middle of the set put the Cardinal on top for good. Stanford limited itself to just two attack errors in the third, hitting .286. Cal committed six attack errors in the set, posting a .190 hitting percentage. Ajanaku led the Cardinal with four kills, while Burgess and Wopat registered three apiece. Gilbert racked up eight digs on defense. Gehan and Hawari finished with 10 kills each to lead Cal.
Stanford will learn its postseason fate on Sunday, Nov. 26 as the 64-team field for the 2012 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship will be announced at 1 p.m. PT on ESPNU. The Cardinal will head to the tournament for the 32nd consecutive season. Stanford and Penn State are the only two teams in the nation to qualify for all 32 tournaments.