Nov. 14, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Christen Press scored the fastest goal in Stanford history, but the No. 1 Cardinal was severely tested by BYU in an eventual 2-0 victory in the second round of the NCAA women's soccer tournament Saturday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
BYU had a first-half shot hit the underside of the crossbar and a second-half chance headed off the line by defender Rachel Quon, before Lindsay Taylor iced the game for the Cardinal by knocking in a rebound in the 89th minute.
"It was a hard-fought victory against a strong BYU squad," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "Most teams drop a little bit when they concede a goal that early. They fought hard and maintained their tough mentality."
Stanford (22-0) tied a school record for victories while advancing to the third round (round of 16) for the fourth consecutive season. Stanford will play the winner of Sunday's 4 p.m. match between Oklahoma State (15-7-1) and host Santa Clara (14-6-1).
There is a strong chance that Stanford will host the third-round match. An announcement will be made Monday at 6 p.m. Check gostanford.com for schedule and ticket information.
Stanford took the opening kickoff and scored only 23 seconds in when Press took a pass from Kelley O'Hara and scored point-blank on a low right-footed shot, breaking her own mark set 37 seconds into a 2007 NCAA first-round victory over Sacramento State.
"It happened so fast that we didn't know what hit us," BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said.
BYU (18-4-2), the Mountain West Conference regular-season champion, disrupted Stanford's possession game and launched a series of effective attacks. Carlee Payne's shot hit the crossbar and bounced straight down in the 30th minute, with Jennie Marshall's follow header going high.
"We gave it everything we had," Rockwood said. "We thought that we were playing the best so we were going to give them our best. So we wanted to go out there and put pressure on them. We thought that would be our best opportunity."
"We felt that if we could get that goal that the momentum might shift in our favor. We were close, but it just wasn't enough."
As both teams pushed forward in the back-and-forth second half, a shot from Jessica Ringwood out of a scramble in the box beat goalkeeper Kira Maker, but was cleared by a leaping Quon, who at 5-foot-2 is the smallest player on the Stanford team, in the 86th minute.
"It's not something you train," Ratcliffe said. "I just think it was great instincts by a fantastic player. She also had the athleticism to jump up and find the header."
Said Quon, "Coaches always say when the keeper is out to guard the goal. I saw Kira go out, so my instincts were to just go to the goal, and I was there, thankfully."
Stanford countered with a run into the box by O'Hara, whose shot from the left was blocked by goalkeeper McKinzie Olson, but Taylor ran onto it and struck the ball home for a 2-0 lead.
Stanford outshot BYU, 22-15, including 16-8 in the second half, but the Cardinal emerged knowing it truly had to earn the victory.
"We do like to play pretty soccer, but I feel like there are times when we need to play a little bit tougher and get this type of win," Press said. "It's not always going to be 10 passes and then a goal. Sometimes, it will be off the kickoff and then scrap one in at the end, and I think that's what's going to take."
Stanford's defense picked up its 13th shutout of the season, with Maker, a junior, earning the 26th of her career.
"They're definitely one of the more physical and harder teams we've played, but every game in the tournament is going to be a challenge," Stanford defender Alina Garciamendez said. "Paul tells us that and reminds us of that every time out."
O'Hara was credited with both assists and now has 23 goals and 13 assists on the season for 59 points. Press scored her 19th goal and has 13 assists, for 51 points.
Collegesoccer360.com reports that O'Hara and Press have become the 24th tandem in Division I women's soccer history to reach 50-50 in points, and only the third in the past nine years. It most recently was accomplished by Notre Dame's Kerri Hanks and Michele Weissenhofer in 2006.