Sports


Stanford inches closer to postseason invitation

 

Becky Dru scored a goal and recorded two assists as Stanford downed host Michigan, 3-0, in a nonconference match Sunday that had postseason implications.

Hope Burke and Shannon Herold also scored for the ninth-ranked Cardinal (15-2), which hosts the NorPac Championships this week. Stanford opens against Appalachian State on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

Ale Moss recorded a season-high nine saves, seven in the second half, in the net as the Cardinal recorded its best win of the season against the seventh-ranked Wolverines, improving to 6-2 against ranked opponents.

Stanford, currently fourth in the RPI, will carry a six-game winning streak into the NorPac tournament.

Sunday's victory over Michigan was particularly impressive considering the Wolverines had won eight in a row at home.

Stanford, which had lost to Michigan in all six previous meetings, joined North Carolina as the only teams to shut out the Wolverines in 2011.

Michigan controlled play with edges in shots (19-5) and penalty corners (10-6), but it was Stanford that executed perfectly to claim the win.

Women's soccer

Palo Alto grad Theresa Noyola scored twice and top-ranked Stanford stayed unbeaten with a 2-0 win over host Oregon in a Pac-12 contest Sunday.

The Cardinal (10-0, 18-0-1) complete the regular season with a match against visiting California at 7 p.m. Saturday.

"We played pretty well considering their energy level wasn't as high as usual, maybe because we had already clinched the Pac-12," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "The energy was a little quiet for me."

Stanford had only eight shots, its fewest since Oct. 19, 2007, when the Cardinal had only eight in a 2-0 loss to visiting UCLA. However, the Cardinal still outshot the Ducks (8-9-2, 3-6-1), who had only four.

Stanford has a regular-season unbeaten streak of 61, and extended several other impressive streaks. Stanford extended its Pac-12 winning streak to 30, its road (non-neutral) unbeaten streak to 28, its unbeaten streak to 19, and its Pac-12 road winning streak to 16.

Noyola had her first multi-goal performance in two years and third of her collegiate career. The senior midfielder opened the scoring in the 14th minute when a long ball from central defender Alina Garciamendez set Noyola up one on one against Oregon goalkeeper Lindsay Parlee.

Noyola got a low cross-goal shot off at close range only for it to be cleared by an Oregon defender an instant after the ball crossed the goal line.

In the 47th minute, Mariah Nogueira played a ball back to Noyola after Lindsay Taylor's corner kick and Noyola's shot from above the penalty area scored inside the left post. The goals were the seventh and eighth of the season for a player who continued to show her versatility.

"Noyola is a talented player," Ratcliffe said. "She can be a great playmaker, but she also can step forward and score goals if the situation calls for it, like it did today."

Stanford sophomore goalkeeper Emily Oliverearned her seventh shutout and moves alone into sixth on the school's career shutout list, with 17.

Stanford got a lift from junior central defender Madeleine Thompson, who made her second and third career starts over the weekend in her home state. She helped the Cardinal defense to its 12th shutout of the season.

Central defender Kendall Romine, who had been out of action because of injuries the past two years and missed three early-season matches, sat out the weekend as a precaution and is expected to be ready for Cal. In her place, Thompson, a junior and Corvallis native, was allowed to shine in central defense, making her second and third starts of the season - and her career.

"Maddie had a fantastic weekend. I was happy to see her come here to her home and play so well," Ratcliffe said. "She's very intelligent, she's a great distributer, good defender, and brings a lot of composure and positive influence."

Next is the Senior Night match, which will honor Noyola, Camille Levin, Lindsay Taylor, and Kristy Zurmuhlen. These players have combined on a 74-1-4 regular-season record over the course of their collegiate careers, and an 88-4-4 mark overall, making them the winningest senior class in the country (thanks to research from collegesoccer360.com).

Men's water polo

In a battle of the top two defenses of the MPSF, it was No. 2 USC that came out on top with an 8-4 win over No. 3 Stanford Saturday in Los Angeles.

Stanford (14-4, 3-2 MPSF) returns to Southern California next weekend, visiting Long Beach State on Saturday and UC Irvine Sunday for a pair of MPSF contests.

USC improved to 14-2 and 5-0 in the MPSF.

A slow start coupled with three first-period USC goals put the Cardinal on the back heel right away Saturday. The Cardinal didn't get on the board until the second frame, and would only score once over the opening 16 minutes while falling behind 5-1 by halftime.

The Cardinal defense recovered in the second half, while the offense found the back of the net as well. But the teams would play to a 3-3 draw in the second half and Stanford would suffer its second conference loss.

Alex Bowen scored three of the four Cardinal goals Saturday, with Peter Sefton accounting for the fourth. Defensively, goalie Brian Pingree stopped seven shots.

Women's volleyball

The fifth-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team dropped a 26-24, 27-25, 25-10 match to No. 6 UCLA, Saturday, at Maples Pavilion. It marked the first home loss of the season for the Cardinal, which falls to 17-4 overall and 11-4 in the Pac-12. UCLA improve to 20-3 overall and 13-2 in the conference.

Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Williams led the team with 11 kills and 12 digs for her 13th double-double of the year.

Sophomore Carly Wopat added seven kills and three blocks, while junior Hayley Spelman finished with six kills and two blocks.

Junior setter Karissa Cook recorded 27 assists, five digs, three kills and two blocks. Junior libero Hannah Benjamin finished with a team-high 13 digs.

Sailing

Stanford was crowned the two-day winner of the Pacific Coast Collegiate Sailing Conference Match Championship at the St. Francis Yacht Club, going 9-2.

Across the country the Cardinal remained in eighth place at the Victorian Women's Urn, finishing with 176 points.

On the San Francisco Bay, driver Nick Dugdale, trimmer Kevin Laube and bowman McKenzie Wilson were 7-1 during the round robin, tying with Cal Maritime, before facing the Keelhaulers again in the finals.

The Cardinal swept the best of three gold final, after also winning the head-to-head with Cal Maritime during round robin sailing.

Off the cold shores of New England, the B Division team of Sally Mace and Helena Scutt combined for 71 points, fifth-best in their division, paced by fifth place or better showings in seven of the 12 races.

The A Division of Eliza Richartz and Natalie Urban tallied 105 poitns, at one point finishing in the top-8 in six of the final seven races. The Stanford women came into the weekend ranked No. 5 nationally.

On Saturday, with temperatures in the 50's and snow flurries expected Sunday, Stanford is in eighth place after the first of two days at the Victorian Urn.

The B Division team skippered by Sally Mace and with Helena Scutt have tallied 41 points, third-best in the division thanks to placing in the top three in five of the eight races.

The A Division skippered by Eliza Richartz has 81 points, rebounding to finishing in the top-nine over the final three races.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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