Christen Press scored three goals and had one assist – all within the first 32 minutes – to lead the No. 2 Stanford women's soccer team to a 6-1 victory over Utah at the Santa Clara Classic on Friday.
The hat trick was the first at Stanford for the senior forward, who, with Friday's performance, supplanted the great Julie Foudy for third on the school's all-time lists for career points (Press has 141) and goals (53). She already is No. 2 on the assists list (36).
"Christen Press is an amazing player," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "She's a great goal scorer, and she can set players up. She's having an incredible career at Stanford, and I can't say enough about her ability."
Press continues to draw closer to Stanford's records in all three categories. Sarah Rafanelli (1990-93) holds the marks for goals (59) and points (152), and Marcie Ward (2000-04) has the standard for assists (40).
Press' seven-point match was the first for Stanford since Erin Martin had a school-record eight points in a 6-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara in 1994.
Press, who now has eight goals this season, had an opportunity for a school-record tying fourth goal when Camille Levin released her with a through ball. Press swept past the final defender, but was unable to get her shot past onrushing goalkeeper Hannah Turpen, who blocked it at the top of the box in the 57th minute.
Press pushed Stanford (5-0-2) into the lead when she slotted in a low cross from Levin in the 9th minute. Levin, in her second match starting at forward after opening the season as an outside defender, supplied the second assist on a similar ball to the top of the box. Press gathered her third at 31:21 by finishing off another cross, this one by Morgan Redman.
Stanford (5-0-2) won for the ninth consecutive time at Buck Shaw Stadium in a streak that began in 2007. But the Cardinal is expected to be challenged by No. 15 Georgetown, the highest-scoring team in the nation, on Sunday at 11 a.m. on the same field.
Utah (1-8) got a goal back in the 34th minute on a header, but Stanford reserves Marjani Hing-Glover and Shelby Payne responded with second-half scores. For the freshman Payne, she scored her first collegiate goal in spectacular fashion, by controlling a perfect through ball from freshman Taylor McCann, flicking the ball over the goalkeeper, retrieving it in the six-yard box and scoring from an acute angle in the 80th minute.
As for Press, who has been largely overshadowed previously by players such as 2009 Hermann Trophy winner Kelley O'Hara, Ratcliffe believes that Press' skills finally will be recognized by the public at large.
"I think so," he said. "But I also think she's proven so much already for her career. This is icing on the cake if she can have a great senior year and be that consistent goal scorer that can make the difference in every game."
Top-ranked Stanford defeated St. Mary's on Friday at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, 25-23, 25-15, 20-25, 25-21, as the Cardinal pushed its record to 8-0 on the season, while the Gaels fell to 7-4 overall.
Senior Alix Klineman led all players with 21 kills, 12 digs and six blocks for her fourth double-double of the season. Senior setter/hitter Cassidy Lichtman was one digs shy of a triple-double as she finished with 13 kills, 27 assists and nine digs.
Freshman Rachel Williams chipped in with 10 kills on 19 attempts for a .526 attack percentage. Senior libero Gabi Ailes tallied 13 digs and an ace in the win.
As a team, Stanford hit .295, while holding Saint Mary's to a .125 clip.
Menlo Park resident Jordan Shaw, the daughter of former Stanford women's volleyball coach Don Shaw, recorded 10 kills for St. Mary's.
Stanford shot a team score of 287 and are tied for eighth after the first round of the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational being held at the historic club outside of Chicago.
The Cardinal are tied with host-Illinois, seven strokes off the pace being set by Florida and defending NCAA Champion Augusta State. Ohio State is two strokes back at 282.
Sophomore Andrew Yun carded an opening round 69 (-1) and is part of a pack that is tied for fifth, including U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlien of Oklahoma State. After making the turn at two-over, Yun birdied holes No. 10, 14 and 15 for his one-under round of 69.