There's a theory spreading among women's soccer coaches and players that the only chance to beat top-ranked Stanford is to stop its 'Press.' So far, the theory has held.
Cardinal senior Christen Press scored her national-leading 16th goal of the season on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute and Mariah Nogueira added a goal 13 minutes later and Stanford went on to beat host UCLA, 2-0, in a critical Pac-10 match Sunday afternoon.
Press has scored goals in each of the past seven games, and 11 of 13 overall. She's recorded at least one point in every match but Stanford's season-opening tie with host Boston College
Stanford (2-0, 11-0-2) and the Bruins have won, or shared, the conference title in each of the past nine years, and in 15 of 16 years overall.
"We knew the first weekend was going to determine who's going to have the best shot of controlling the Pac-10," senior captain Allison McCann said. "This was huge."
The victories over USC and UCLA on the conference season-opening weekend marked Stanford's first sweep of the Los Angeles trip since 2002, and the first time in coach Paul Ratcliffe's eight seasons.
Stanford returns home Saturday with a 5 p.m. match against Washington State in the first match of a doubleheader that also includes the Stanford men against UCLA at 7:30 p.m.
"It was more about us taking care of the ball, using a good possession style and taking chances when we got them," Ratcliffe said.
On such chance set up the penalty. Stanford was applying pressure when UCLA was called for a hand ball, setting up Press' goal.
"When you're in a tight game, especially away from home, and get a goal, it can break the ice," Ratcliffe said. "This one broke the ice. It was big."
Stanford's Dominique Yahyavi tapped in a double-overtime golden goal to secure a crucial 1-0 Pac-10 road victory over Oregon State. The Cardinal and Beavers played 106 minutes of scoreless soccer before the Cardinal broke through with the game winner.
"It was a great effort on the road," Stanford coach Bret Simon said. "Sunday games are particularly challenging. Our defensive effort was exceptional and Galen Perkins did an excellent job starting the first two games of his college career."
Adam Jahn created the chance, firing a shot on goal that was deflected by Oregon State goalkeeper Steve Spangler. The rebound trickled in front of the goal and Yahyavi was there to tap it in for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
The Beavers lost their third straight and four out of five.
Stanford senior Hilary Barte defeated California's Jana Juricova, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in Sunday's championship singles match at the ITA Riviera All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades.
Barte was seeded second in the tournament to the top-seeded Juricova, last year's NCAA national runner-up.
In doubles, third-seeded Barte and partner Mallory Burdette made it a Cardinal sweep, beating Clemson's Josipa Bek and Keri Wong, 6-3, 6-3, for the victory.
At the Saint Mary's Invitational in Moraga, Veronica Li and Amelia Herring reached the red division consolation singles before bowing out, while Natalie Dillon reached the round of 16 in the white division singles.
Freshman Cameron Wilson shot the low round Sunday, a 5-under-par 67, to lead Stanford in the first round of The Prestige at PGA West.
Stanford recorded a combined score of 6-over-par 294 and is in a tie for third with two rounds to play.
No. 22 California leads the tournament after one round, posting a score of 2-under-par 286. Arizona State is four shots back in second, while No. 21 Stanford, No. 7 Washington and No. 24 San Diego are tied for third, eight strokes back.
Wilson is playing just his second event as a collegiate. He made seven birdies, including closing with birdies at holes 1 and 2 due to the shotgun start.
"I am really excited to see Cameron lead the team in just his second event as a collegiate on such a difficult course," Stanford coach Conrad Ray said.
The Stanford Women finished in seventh place at the Navy Fall Championships, with two sets of sailors finishing in the top-five in their division, while the coed team finished 16th at the Moody Trophy.
In Annapolis, freshman Molly McKinney finished the C Division laser division with a score of 102 points, the third-best total among the 17 teams. Sally Mace and Katie Riklin had the fourth-best A Division score of 101 over the 16 races, as Stanford as a whole were seventh with 379 points.
At the Moody Trophy, the team of Oliver Toole and Yuri Namikawa, posted the eighth-best A Division score of 121 over the 13 races. The B Division team however scored struggled to finish with 191 points, giving the Cardinal a 16th place showing of 18 teams.