Sports

Stanford runners chase titles at annual Stanford Invitational

 

The 42nd annual Stanford Invitational cross-country meet will be held Saturday at Stanford Golf Course, beginning at 9 a.m. The meet provides a glimpse of the Stanford teams that are regarded as national contenders and serves as a showcase for some of the best high school runners in the state and beyond.

The college races begin at 9:50 a.m. and are sandwiched among 12 high school races six each for boys and girls covering five enrollment divisions and seeded races. There will by 37 colleges competing. Overall, there will be approximately 3,397 runners.

The Cardinal men are currently ranked second in the nation, while the women are ranked fifth.

Senior Joe Rosa returns to defend his Stanford Invitational title. Last year, Rosa and teammate Maksim Korolev attempted to tie, but that is not officially allowed and Rosa was awarded the victory. Rosa and Korolev went to help Stanford to a second-place NCAA finish, though it finished third among Division I teams at the Stanford Invite. UC Santa Barbara was second in that race, edging Stanford by a point.

Sean McGorty, 20th at NCAA's last year, and Rosa are both cross country All-Americans and could be Stanford's top two this season. They are the only members of last year's NCAA lineup to compete on Saturday. Other Stanford runners entered are Jack Bordoni, 2013 USATF junior national 1,500-meter champion Justin Brinkley, sub-4 miler Thomas Coyle, Will Drinkwater, Steven Fahy, Cameron Miller, Patrick Perrier, and Ryan Silva.

Division I teams ranked regionally are Stanford (No. 1 West), Cal (No. 6 West), UCSB (No. 9 West), Cal Poly (No. 11 West), San Jose State (No. 14 West), Baylor (No. 14, South Central), and North Dakota State (No. 15 Midwest). Though they will be combined in the same race, the Division I and non-Division I teams will be scored separately.

Chico State, the 2014 non-Division I team winner, is ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division II, Cal Poly Pomona is No. 10 and Simon Fraser is No. 21, and Southern Oregon is No. 1 in NAIA.

The Stanford women will not race at full strength, splitting their squad between this meet and the Washington Invitational in Seattle on Oct. 2. Stanford individuals have won the 6K distance 11 of the past 13 years, including the past five.

Stanford enters four who were part of the lineup team that placed 14th at the NCAA Championships: Sophie Chase, Claire Howlett, Abbie McNulty, and Molly McNamara. California also is nationally ranked, at No. 30, and Chico State, last year's Invite non-Division I runner-up, is No. 6 in Division II and Simon Fraser is No. 10.

Division I teams ranked in the West Region are: Stanford (No. 1), Cal (No. 5), UC Davis (No. 8), and Cal Poly (No. 11). Division II teams ranked in the West are: Chico State (No. 1), Simon Fraser (No. 3), Central Washington (No. 6), Azusa Pacific (No. 8). Other nationally-ranked teams are Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (No. 11 in Division III) and Southern Oregon (No. 17 in NAIA).

The Stanford men had their 19-year winning streak snapped last year by Washington State, but the Cardinal women have an 11-year winning streak. The meet began in 1974 with a men's race, and the women's race began in 1977. Among the men's winners have been two-time U.S. cross country champion Chris Derrick and Olympians such as Ryan Hall, Gabe Jennings, Meb Keflezighi, and Ian Dobson. Past women's winners have included Regina Jacobs, Ceci Hopp, Sara Bei, and Amy Yoder.

Women's volleyball

The eighth-ranked Cardinal navigated a tough nonconference schedule and it only gets harder now that Pac-12 Conference season has commenced.

Stanford (1-0, 7-2) opened conference play with a convincing victory at California. Sunday's home match against No. 3 USC (4 p.m.) should serve as an indicator of sorts.

The Trojans (1-0, 13-0) are one of three undefeated teams in the talent-laden Pac-12. Arizona State (11-0) and Washington (10-0) open conference play this weekend.

With the unbalanced scheduling, this is the only match between the two perennial national contending teams. The Cardinal finish the conference season at UCLA, their only match. USC swept the Bruins in its conference opener.

The Trojans are second in the conference in hitting percentage at .330. Stanford ranks fourth at . 263. USC is the team leader in assists (13.78 per set) and kills (14.83) while the Cardinal top the Pac-12 in blocks (3.13).

USC's Elise Ruddins leads the conference with a .478 hitting percentage and Alicia Ogoms is fifth at .427. Samantha Bricio averages a Pac-12 best 4.90 kills. Cardinal freshman Hayley Hodson, who recorded 18 kills against Cal, ranks tenth at 3.55.

Ogoms and Stanford's Ivana Vanjak rank 1-2 in blocks, 1.71 and 1.55 respectively.

Women's soccer

No. 8 Stanford opens Pac-12 Conference play at Utah for a second straight season. The Cardinal (6-2) and Utes (3-3-3) meet at 3 p.m. (PT) on Friday, to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

Stanford is coming off a 1-0 loss at Santa Clara on Sunday. The Cardinal also dropped a home nonconference game to Penn State.

The Cardinal will be looking to extend its unbeaten conference-opening streak to 15 years. Stanford is 11-0-3 since losing to Washington in 2000.

Stanford leads the series with Utah, 5-1-1, and has an active five-match unbeaten streak. The teams tied, 1-1, last year.

Stanford has not allowed more than two goals in a match over its past 242 contests, not since a 4-0 loss to North Carolina in 2005. The Cardinal hasn't allowed more than two goals in a match at home since 1998, in a 3-2 overtime loss to BYU.

The Cardinal holds a 152-42 edge in shots and 66-11 in corner kicks over its opponents. Freshman Michelle Xiao leads the team with three goals on 27 shots. Sophomore Andi Sullivan has a pair of goals, while senior Haley Rosen has a goal and three assists.

Every conference team, with the exception of Oregon has a .500 record or better, and the Ducks are 3-5. Washington State enters the weekend at 7-1, followed by Washington at 7-1-1. Arizona (6-1-1), California (6-1-2) and Oregon State (4-1-2) are other teams with one loss.

Men's water polo

No. 2 Stanford travels to UC Davis for the Aggie Roundup this weekend. The Cardinal (8-1) will face Concordia (noon) and the host Aggies (4 p.m.) on Saturday, and Santa Clara (noon) and San Jose State (4 p.m.) on Sunday.

Senior Bret Bonanni enters this weekend's tourney just 34 goals from tying Tony Azevedo's Stanford and MPSF record of 332 from 2001-04. After concluding his junior season with a conference-leading 96 goals, he has a team-leading 32 goals in Stanford's first nine games.

The senior recorded a career-best nine goals in the season-opening victory over MIT on Sept. 5. Bonanni is the only Cardinal in history to post multiple 90-goal seasons. He recorded five goals in Stanford's four games in the Kap7 NorCal Invitational last weekend.

Stanford finished second in the 16-team Kap7 NorCal Invitational last weekend. The Cardinal opened with convincing wins over Santa Clara (18-0) and No. 7 Long Beach State (11-4) to reach the semifinals. In the semifinal round, Stanford defeated No. 2 USC, 6-5, before dropping an 8-7 decision to No. 1 UCLA in the Championship game.

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