Stanford women's soccer earns three-peat into College Cup


By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

Senior forward Christen Press continued her assault on the school record book and five different players scored as the Stanford women's soccer team advanced to its third consecutive Women's College Cup with a convincing 5-0 victory over visiting Florida State on Friday night in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.

Press recorded an assist and goal, overtaking Marcie Ward for the career assists mark and matching Kelley O'Hara for the most goals (26) scored in a single season.

Mariah Nogueira, Lindsay Taylor and Teresa Noyola each scored their first postseason goals, making it nine different goal scorers accounting for the 13 goals in the top-ranked Cardinal's run to Cary, N.C.

"Our entire team is top quality and anyone is capable of scoring at any time," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "When you get numbers in the box, it's an opportunity to score."

Florida State coach Mark Krikorian echoed Ratcliffe's comments.

"They attack in so many different ways," he said. "They play beautiful soccer and on this day the better team won. We have not seen that quality of pressure all season long. That was the best we've faced."

Stanford (22-0-2) will meet the winner of Saturday's game between Washington and host Boston College. No matter which team wins, the Cardinal will be facing a familiar opponent having played both teams in each of the past two years.

"There's a lot to be said about experience," Press said. "We've been to the Final Four twice and we've reached the championship game. That should be a competitive edge. But teams which make it to the Final Four are there for a reason. It's not an easy road to get there."

Stanford has not lost a home game in which it has scored at least one goal since 2003. The Cardinal also extended a variety of other streaks, as the team is unbeaten at home in 39 straight matches, has won 35 straight at home, and has won 12 consecutive home NCAA tournament games.

The Cardinal has recorded multi-goals in the first four rounds of the tournament for the first time in school history.

Florida State, which reached its sixth consecutive NCAA quarterfinal, allowed its most goals in an NCAA match ever. UCLA beat the Seminoles, 4-0, in the 2005 national semifinals. USC beat Florida State for the 2007 national title.

The Seminoles were also shut out for the ninth time in their 42-match NCAA tournament history. They were held to six total shots and none on goal as freshman Emily Oliver improved to 19-0.

"Our best defense is our offense," Oliver said. "We keep the ball well in the back and if we have the ball, they can't attack."

Marjani Hing-Glover also scored for Stanford, her second of the postseason. Press has three goals in the tournament.

Nogueira put Stanford on the scoreboard in the 31st minute, heading in a crossing pass from Press. Alina Garciamendez began the scoring sequence with a through ball to the streaking Press.

Taylor's goal came in the 56th minute and was also a header from a cross by Camille Levin. Annie Case assisted on Press' goal, while Noyola's goal was aided by a pass from Kristy Zurmuhlrn. Morgan Redman was credited with the assist on Hing-Glover's goal.

"Apart from experience, we're getting goals from a lot of different players," Noyola said. "That didn't happen in past years. We're more dangerous and you can't shut us down by stopping one player."

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