Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - November 12, 2010

Stanford's Press is named Pac-10 Player of Year

It wasn't quite a clean sweep, but the conference champion Stanford women's soccer team still was well-represented on the 2010 All Pac-10 Conference team that was announced on Wednesday.

In a vote by the conference coaches, Cardinal senior forward Christen Press was named Pac-10 Player of the Year, Oregon State forward Jenna Richardson was named Freshman of the Year and Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

Press has 23 goals, seven assists, and 53 points for No. 1 Stanford, which begins NCAA Tournament play Friday night at 7 against visiting Sacramento State. Her goal and point totals lead the nation and have put her in range to break Kelley O'Hara's year-old Stanford season records of 26 and 65.

This year, Press shattered Stanford career records for goals (68) and points (176) and tied the mark in assists (40). She has scored or assisted in 18 of Stanford's 20 matches and had a nine-match goal-scoring streak.

Press becomes Stanford's sixth Pac-10 women's soccer Player of the Year, following Carmel Murphy (1995), Erin Martin (1996), Tracye Lawyer (1998), Marcia Wallis (2002), and O'Hara (2009).

Leading his squad through an undefeated regular season, a Pac-10 Championship and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight year, Ratcliffe was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the third-consecutive season. Stanford is riding an 18-0-2 season heading into the tournament and is the consensus No. 1 team in the nation.

Ratcliffe's team (9-0 in conference) is only the second in Pac-10 history to have back-to-back undefeated seasons. Under his tutelage, the Cardinal has the third-best scoring offense in the nation, averaging 2.95 goals per game and the sixth-best goals against average (0.487).

The Cardinal lost three starters, including Hermann Trophy winner O'Hara, from the 25-1 team of a year ago that reached its first NCAA College Cup final, but Ratcliffe has made several moves that have proved vital.

Among them was moving sophomore Courtney Verloo from forward to central defense, where she has become one of team's most valuable players, and having faith in true freshman goalkeeper Emily Oliver, who has started since the team's sixth match. Oliver is No. 3 in the nation in goals-against average, at 0.299.

Stanford's first-team selections are Press, junior midfielder Teresa Noyola, sophomore defender Rachel Quon, and junior forward Lindsay Taylor. This is the second first-team honor for each.

Noyola, an attacking midfielder, is second on the team in scoring with personal collegiate highs of nine goals and 11 assists for 29 points. Quon, an outside left back, has two goals and four assists while also helping the Cardinal register 11 shutouts and allow only two goals in Pac-10 play. Taylor has nine goals and five assists for 23 points, and scored in five consecutive conference matches.

Stanford's second-team selections are Verloo and sophomore midfielder Mariah Nogueira. Sophomore defender Alina Garciamendez, junior forward Camille Levin, and Oliver received honorable mention honors. In addition, Oliver was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team.

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