Sports


Stanford women will host a NCAA soccer opener on Friday

Stanford will play host to Cal State Fullerton in the first round of the NCAA women's soccer playoffs on Friday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium at 7 p.m.

The 64-team NCAA tournament field was announced Monday and Stanford (13-5-1), which has reached the past five NCAA College Cup semifinals, was an at-large selection and most likely will travel if it gets past the Titans (8-6-7), the Big West tournament champions.

"I'm excited and I know the team is excited to get started," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "It's been what we've been training for. We've been working for these opportunities and this is the next step."

If the seeds hold, the second and third rounds in Stanford's quadrant will be at Pac-12 champion and Cardinal rival UCLA on Nov. 22 and 24. Stanford would play the winner of Furman-South Carolina in the second round and possibly UCLA in the third.

Again, based on seeding, Stanford would play at North Carolina in the quarterfinals for the right to advance to the College Cup, Dec. 6 and 8, in Cary, N.C.

The Cardinal finished fourth in the Pac-12 this season after winning four consecutive conference titles, creating a more difficult path toward a return to the College Cup. Stanford has won 20 consecutive NCAA tournament matches at home and hasn't played an NCAA non-College Cup match on the road since 2006.

"Things start fresh for everyone," Ratcliffe said. "It doesn't matter about your record any more. Everyone has to play with great intensity. When you get to this level, the intensity is higher and the physicality is higher. I think the Pac-12 prepares us for this type of competition."

Stanford is making its 16th consecutive NCAA appearance and 23rd overall. The Cardinal has advanced beyond the first round the past seven years.

Stanford and Cal State Fullerton have met only once before, when Stanford beat the visiting Titans, 2-0, on Sept. 17, 2004.

Stanford is led by Courtney Verloo, who has nine goals, six assists, and 24 points. Taylor Uhl is the team goal-scoring leader with 10.

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m. They can be purchased online at gostanford.com, by calling 1-800-STANFORD, or by visiting the ticket office at Stanford Stadium. The first 50 Stanford students get in free.

— Stanford Athletics

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