Sports

Stanford women get a No. 1 seed for NCAA soccer

 

Stanford received one of four No. 1 seeds into the NCAA women's soccer tournament and will play host to San Jose State in the first round on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Cardinal (16-2, 10-0-1 Pac-12) is seeded to host the first four rounds -- all the way through the quarterfinals. This will be Stanford's 25th NCAA Tournament appearance and 17th consecutive.

If the Cardinal wins its first-round match, the second- and third-round matches will be played at Stanford the weekend of Nov. 19-22. The quarterfinal would be Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. The Cardinal has played host to the first four rounds six of the past seven years, advancing to the College Cup each of those seasons.

"It's a great advantage to play at home," said Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe. "The team has worked hard this year to attain this and now we have to take advantage of that opportunity. The atmosphere at Stanford is always great and we have fantastic support. Hopefully we can play well and have a strong run."

San Jose State (10-7-4, 8-3-0 Mountain West) won the Mountain West championship after defeating San Diego State on penalty kicks (4-2) this past weekend. It is the first conference championship for the Spartans in any sport since joining the Mountain West in 2013.

"They'll be well-organized and come in with a good game plan and it won't be easy to beat them," said Ratcliffe.

Stanford earned its 10th Pac-12 title this season and went unbeaten in conference play with a 10-0-1 mark. The Cardinal led the Pac-12 in goals scored with 24 in conference play and 35 overall. Stanford tied USC for the fewest goals allowed with 11 on the season.

Stanford is among six pac-12 schools to receive NCAA invitations. The Cardinal, which is 6-2-1 this season against teams in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field, owns a 25-match home unbeaten streak in NCAA play. Stanford has won nine consecutive first-round matches -- all but one at home.

Last year, Stanford earned a late 5-2 comeback victory against Cal State Fullerton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal went down 2-0 in the first 29 minutes but rallied for five unanswered goals in the final 27 minutes of the game to advance to the next round.

If the seeds hold, Stanford would face BYU in the second round, Santa Clara in the third and Florida in the quarterfinal. Stanford played the Cougars and Broncos earlier this season. The Cardinal and Gators faced off twice in 2014, including the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal match that was decided by penalty kicks and sent Stanford to the College Cup.

"They're all competitive teams and deserving of being in the NCAA playoffs," said Ratcliffe of the teams in Stanford's section of the bracket. "It's not going to be easy. Any of the teams we match up with will be really competitive games."

So what will it take for Stanford to advance through the bracket and earn its seventh trip to the College Cup in the past eight years?

"It's going to take staying healthy, intensity and a little bit of luck along the way," said Ratcliffe. "We have to create our own luck by playing well and playing each and every game like it's our last."

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m. Call 1-800-STANFORD for more information.

— Stanford Athletics

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