Sports

Stanford's Whitaker kicks his way to Pac-10 weekly football honor

 

Stanford senior placekicker Nate Whitaker was honored as the Pac-10's Special Teams Player of the Week after matching a school record with five field goals in last weekend's 37-14 victory over host Notre Dame.

Whitaker, who a week earlier missed his first two career PAT attempts, was 5-for-5 on field goals and accounted for 17 of Stanford's 37 points as the Cardinal posted its first win in South Bend since 1992.

Whitaker's five field goals -- from distances of 24, 41, 36, 33 and 29 yards -- tied Stanford's single-game record first set by John Hopkins against California in 1990.

Whitaker is 8-for-8 in field goal attempts this season and has made 13 straight field goals dating to last season.

No. 9 Stanford travels to Eugene this weekend for a showdown with fourth-ranked Oregon. Kickoff was changed to 5 p.m. from its previously announced time of 8:15 p.m. The game will be carried live on ABC.

Women's field hockey

One day after giving No. 1 North Carolina its toughest test of the season during a 2-1 loss, No. 18 Stanford regrouped for a 4-2 upset of No. 8 Wake Forest to earn an impressive split of a challenging road swing.

The weekend figured to be Stanford's most grueling portion of the schedule, as North Carolina and Wake Forest have combined to win five of the last eight national championships. But after Wake Forest scored twice in the first nine minutes of Monday's game, Stanford completely dominated the contest and responded with four unanswered goals.

Much like its dominating effort earlier this month in a 3-2 loss against then-No. 7 Michigan State, Stanford (6-3, 2-1 NorPac) controlled tempo and owned advantages in both shot attempts and penalty corners. Against the Demon Deacons (6-4, 1-2 ACC), the Cardinal doubled up the shot count at 18-9 and took three more penalty corners at 7-4.

This time around, the result was an upset victory for Stanford, which defeated its highest-ranked opponent in school history since shocking No. 3 Michigan State 2-1 on Aug. 31, 2001.

"We are excited about the progression of this program," said head coach Tara Danielson following Monday's victory. "We have continued to improve throughout the season and our system is now paying dividends inside the attacking 25. It is always difficult to be down 2-0 early in a game against a top-10 side, but I thought we showed great character and resilience today and were able to turn a deficit into a great win."

Stanford received a pair of goals later in the first half to even the match at 2 heading into halftime. Emily Henriksson scored the first Cardinal goal at the 20:44 mark when she knocked in a loose ball that deflected off a Wake Forest player. In the 34th minute, Camille Gandhi made it 2-2 when she fired home a shot following a cross from Elise Ogle to complete a penalty corner.

Katie Mitchell put Stanford in front 3-2 in the 49th minute, beating Wake Forest keeper Kaitlyn Ruhf after a scramble near the cage.

Stephanie Byrne tacked on her team-leading fourth goal of the season at the 53:43 mark, scoring off a cross from Alysha Sekhon.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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