Sports

Stanford women are overall No. 1 seed for NCAA soccer

 

Stanford earned the No. 1 overall seed into the NCAA women's soccer tournament and will play host to Houston Baptist in the first round on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Cardinal (17-1-1) is seeded to host the first four rounds (through the quarterfinals). This will be Stanford's 26th NCAA Tournament appearance and 19th consecutive.


Paul Ratcliffe
If the Cardinal wins its first-round match, the second- and third-round matches will be played at Stanford the weekend of Nov. 18-20.

The quarterfinal would be Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. The Cardinal has played host to the first four rounds seven of the past eight years, advancing to the College Cup in six of those seven seasons.

"I'm proud of the team, they had an outstanding regular season," said Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe. "Hopefully we can capitalize on this opportunity. Having the one-seed helps, we'll be playing at home the entire tournament."

Houston Baptist (10-10-1, 5-5-1 Southland) won the Southland championship after defeating Stephen F. Austin, 1-0, in the championship game this past Sunday. The Huskies will play in their second NCAA Tournament in the past three years.

"Any team that gets into the NCAA playoffs is obviously deserving," said Ratcliffe. "I'm sure they'll be a competitive group and we'll have to be prepared for that game. It's going to have to be business as usual for each game."

Stanford earned its 11th Pac-12 title this past weekend and sixth championship in the past eight seasons. The Cardinal led the Pac-12 in goals scored with 48 overall and 27 in conference play.

Stanford is among six Pac-12 schools to receive NCAA invitations. The Cardinal, which is 10-1-1 this season against teams in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field, owns a 29-match home unbeaten streak in NCAA play. Stanford has won 10 consecutive first-round matches, all but one at home.

If the seeds hold, Stanford would face Santa Clara in the second round, Minnesota in the third and Georgetown in the quarterfinal. Stanford played each of those teams earlier this season and went 3-0 against them. The Cardinal outscored those three opponents by a combined score of, 9-2.

Last year, Stanford played to a 1-1 draw against Duke but fell 4-3 in penalty kicks. So what will it take for Stanford to advance through the bracket and earn its seventh trip to the College Cup in the past nine years?

"Hopefully we use last year as motivation," said Ratcliffe. "It's always difficult to get to the College Cup and last year we were disappointed so hopefully this year we'll have more determination and be able to get there and win a national championship."

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Women's water polo

The Stanford University Cardinal held serve at home, claiming gold at the 2016 Collegiate Cup.

At the conclusion of play in the round robin style tourney Stanford edged UCLA and USC for top honors despite falling to USC 12-11 in the final match of the afternoon. Stanford beat UCLA earlier in the day 8-7 with UCLA edging USC prior to that game 8-7.

All of the matches in the first through third bracket were competitive on the final day of play and perhaps none more than the final game between USC and Stanford. With the Trojans eyeing the title they built an early lead and held an 11-7 advantage after four quarters.

Stanford, led by tourney MVP Maggie Steffens, staged a major rally outscoring USC 4-1 in the final period to keep things close enough to win the crown based off goal differential.

In other action the California Golden Bears earned fourth place followed by the USA Youth National Team in fifth place and Michigan in sixth place.

A battle for seventh place saw a thriller as San Jose State rallied to edge one of two UC-Davis squads competing. The USA Academy team slid past the other UC-Davis entry to earn ninth place.

Women's volleyball

Stanford middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris earned the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors on Monday.

Fitzmorris helped lead the Cardinal to road wins at Colorado and No. 19 Utah last week. The Overland Park, Kansas native averaged 2.43 kills, 1.71 blocks and 3.36 points per set in the two matches.

At Colorado, Fitzmorris hit .450 with 10 kills on 20 swings with just one error. She also tallied a match-best eight blocks and a career-high six digs. Against the Utes, the middle blocker was errorless offensively and finished with seven kills on .438 hitting to go with four blocks.

It marks the third freshman of the week honor for Fitzmorris and the 20th all-time for the Cardinal, which is the most in the conference.

The ninth-ranked Cardinal hosts USC at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and UCLA at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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