Stanford teams are all about playing winning defense


Call Stanford a defensive school and you won't get much argument from the athletic department. The football team enjoys plenty of company from its other fall sports teams ranked among the best defenses in the nation.

The list also includes men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball and field hockey, all of which are in action this weekend.

The Cardinal women's soccer team, ranked No. 1 in the NCAA's RPI, sits atop the NCAA rankings in defense heading into Friday night's 8 p.m. Pac-12 Conference contest with visiting Washington, to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

No. 3-ranked Stanford (0-0-1 in the Pac-12, 8-0-2 overall) allowed its first goal of the season on a 1-1 draw at Utah last weekend and will be looking to continue a new streak when the Huskies (0-1, 7-3) visit.

The Cardinal also hosts Washington State on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks) and the Cougars (1-0, 6-0-2) are one of four conference teams will an overall winning record.

Stanford's scoreless streak totaled a school-record 893 minutes, 58 seconds, and began last Nov. 24.

Stanford's goals-against average is 0.09. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell's GAA is a national-leading 0.10. Campbell's shutout streak of 803:18, which ended Friday, is the 18th-longest by a goalkeeper in NCAA Division I history.

"Jane Campbell is regarded as one of the top young goalkeepers in the world," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "She continues the tradition of Stanford's incredible goalkeepers."

At age 17 on Jan. 22, 2013, became the youngest goalkeeper ever called into a full U.S. national team camp.

Stanford is the only school that has allowed as few as one goal this season. Washington State and Holy Cross are next, each with two goals allowed.

Stanford has not allowed a goal at home since last Nov. 6, against Cal, and has not allowed a goal in regulation at home since last Oct. 13.

The Cardinal has never lost to Washington at home and has a 9-match winning streak, last losing in 2004.

The Cougars beat Stanford last year en route to their second-place conference finish, ending the Cardinal's 26-match conference road winning streak.

Women's volleyball

Something will have top give when top-ranked Stanford (2-0, 12-0) hosts No. 11 Oregon (2-0, 12-0) on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Cardinal has won six straight against the Ducks, but it has been anything but easy. Liz Brenner, an All-American candidate, is one of the most athletic players in the country.

Stanford redshirt freshman middle blocker Merete Lutz leads the nation with a .528 hitting percentage, while junior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku is second nationally (.510). The pair are two of only three players in the nation hitting over .500 on the season.

Senior libero Kyle Gilbert (1,595) is three digs away from moving past current U.S. national team member Kristin Richards into second place on the Cardinal's career digs list. Gabi Ailes holds the Stanford record and ranks fifth all-time in the Pac-12 with 2,147 career digs.

Men's water polo

No. 2 Stanford opens Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play this weekend with a home game against UC Irvine on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The match will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

The Cardinal (10-1) won four matches at last weekend's Aggie Shootout in Davis. Stanford returns to UC Davis for a nonconference match on Sunday.

Senior Alex Bowen and junior Bret Bonanni each recorded their 200th career goal this year, becoming the fifth and sixth players in Cardinal history to do so. Bowen (213) and Bonanni (204) are within reach of James Bergeson's 235-goal mark for second all-time.

Field hockey

No. 5 Stanford returns to NorPac Conference action, hosting Pacific at 6 p.m. Friday and traveling to UC Davis for a 1 p.m. match Sunday.

Due to a realignment within the NorPac Conference, the Tigers are in the East Division while UC Davis remains in the West Division.

Stanford is coming off a successful trip East during which it registered its first victory in program history against No. 2 Connecticut and earned a convincing win at Yale. The second-ranked Huskies is the highest ranked opponent Stanford has ever defeated.

The Cardinal was rewarded with a program-best No. 5 national ranking this week.

Elise Ogle was named the NorPac Offensive Player of the Week and Katie Keyser was named the NorPac Freshman of the Week.

— Rick Eymer/Palo Alto Online Sports

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