Stanford women a win away from College Cup soccer semis


Stanford opened its women's soccer season with five of its first six matches against ranked opponents. The third-ranked Cardinal hosts No. 10 Florida on Friday night at 7 p.m. in a rematch of one of those games.

Stanford (20-1-2) beat the Gators in the second week of September, 1-0, in overtime. Florida may be looking for revenge but, more importantly, the winner of Friday's match advances into the Women's College Cup final four on Dec. 5-7 in Boca Raton, Fla.

Stanford is the top seed in this portion of the bracket. The Gators, who beat Texas Tech, 2-1, on Sunday, are seeded second.

The last meeting between the two teams produced a moment of conflict that seemingly sparked the Cardinal.

Sophomore goalie Jane Campbell was getting bumped and pushed around in the contest, eventually leading to a shoving match with her U.S. Under-20 World Cup teammate Savannah Jordan. They had been teammates just weeks before.

"There might be a little bit of pushing, shoving and scratching," Cardinal senior Lo'eau LaBonta said. "Jane got tired of them shoving some of our guys around and shoved back a little. This time we're both fighting to go to Boca."

LaBonta's penalty kick ended the game against the Gators. She's also scored off of penalty kicks in Stanford's past two NCAA contests.

"We don't want to rely on the penalty kicks," LaBonta said. "We've had a lot of chances. It's focusing, locking the foot and getting the ball into the back of the net."

Florida (17-4-1) was shut out once all season and that was against the Cardinal. The Gators also beat California, 3-1, in the NCAA tournament.

"I'm excited because it should be a great matchup," Stanford defender Kendall Romine said. "They will come in hard and they have a great offense. If we play our game, stay focused and keyed in, we can win that game."

Stanford looks to reach the Women's College Cup for the sixth time in seven years and eighth overall. Eventual champion UCLA knocked out the Cardinal last year.

"We have to keep our composure," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "The stakes are higher. We don't need any silly yellow cards."

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