Nov. 8, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Kelley O'Hara shattered the Stanford single-season goal-scoring record with a hat trick Sunday to complete a perfect regular season for the top-ranked Cardinal with a 4-1 victory over rival Cal.
The performance, which fittingly came on a day when the team's five seniors, including O'Hara, were honored before the game, gave Stanford (20-0, 9-0) the Pacific-10 outright title and completed the first perfect regular season in conference history.
O'Hara entered the match tied with Sarah Rafanelli on the season goal-scoring list, but distanced herself by heading in goals in the 14th and 33rd minutes, and burying her 23rd goal of the season by swooping into the box to first-time a shot past a surprised Bears defense in the 53rd minute, for a 3-0 lead.
"It was definitely a good day," said O'Hara, a leading contender for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer's Heisman. "We beat Cal, check. Undefeated season so far, check. Pac-10 Championship. It was good."
Stanford takes the next step this week. The 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced Monday at 5 p.m. on ESPNews. Stanford hopes to play host to the first and second rounds, scheduled for Friday and Sunday.
Last year, the Cardinal advanced to the NCAA College Cup semifinals, before losing to Notre Dame, 1-0, and has never reached the final.
O'Hara became the first Stanford player since 1993 to register two hat tricks in the same season, a feat last reached by Erin Martin. This only added to O'Hara's increasingly lengthy list of accomplishments that now includes single-season records for goals and points (55), and the No. 2 spots on the career lists of both categories, after passing U.S. national team great Julie Foudy in both on Sunday.
"This was a great performance by the entire team," said coach Paul Ratcliffe, whose Cardinal outshot Cal, 27-6. "I'm especially happy for Kelley O'Hara. She really deserves that. She's been phenomenal all four years."
Cal (10-8-1, 4-5) closed to within 3-1 in the 59th minute after Alex Morgan was fouled during a scramble in the box and was awarded a penalty. Morgan's initial shot was saved by Kira Maker, but the deflection bounced back to Morgan, who buried it for her 13th goal.
However, Lindsay Taylor answered for Stanford with a 30-yard strike to the far upper corner in the 63rd minute to complete the scoring and provide Stanford with its 70th goal this season, one away from its 2008 school record.
"Hopefully, this will give us confidence leading into the playoffs," Ratcliffe said. "Our ultimate goal is the national title."
Stanford became the first Bay Area women's team to finish with a perfect regular season since Santa Clara went 20-0 in 1999 during a 23-1 year. But Stanford has little time to reflect with so much more to shoot for.
"It's definitely an accomplishment," O'Hara said. "But we can't get complacent with just a 20-0 season. We want to go 26-0."