Jan. 26, 2010
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala - Three Stanford soccer teammates took the same field, but for different sides on Monday in the United States' 2-1 victory over Mexico in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship.
Central midfielder Teresa Noyola and outside back Rachel Quon both started and played the full 90 minutes for the U.S. Meanwhile, Alina Garciamendez served as the captain of the Mexican team that had to be pleased with the result despite losing, 2-1, at the Estadio Cementos Progreso.
Noyola had one assist, but really set up both U.S. goals, and Garciamendez, a defender, moved up on a corner kick to head in the Mexican goal in injury time.
The U.S. and Mexico finished 1-2 in four-team Group B and advanced to Thursday's semifinals. The U.S. plays Costa Rica at 11:30 a.m. PT, followed by Mexico against Canada at 2:30 p.m. PT.
Both will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel and available for free viewing via streaming video on CONCACAF.com.
Both semifinal winners, and the winner of the third-place match, will qualify for the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Germany.
Each Stanford player was asked about the U.S.-Mexico match, playing each other and how they're coping with school work despite being away from Stanford for two weeks.
Here are their responses:
"When I found out that we were going to play the U.S., I was so excited because we were going to play one of the best teams in the world. I knew we were going to face T and Quon. They both played amazing and were a big part of their team. It would be so nice if we played each other in the finals since that would mean we both qualified for the World Cup. I hope the best for them in the semifinals.
"With Stanford, studying on the road wasn't too bad since we would only be missing one day of school, but since we are gone for two weeks, it is very hard to stay focused on school work. I have already taken a chemistry midterm, submitted a chemistry write up, and faxed a math assignment. About half of the girls on the Mexican team aren't attending school this month, so it is very odd for them to see us stressing out about school. Besides the homework, being in this environment with my team makes things so much easier."
"It was pretty cool to have three players represent Stanford yesterday. This tournament has been a great experience so far, and it's awesome to be able to share it with Alina and Quon. Of course, once the game started it was all business with both teams trying to get the win. Alina scored a nice header off the corner and was solid in the back, as usual. Quon and I were happy to get the win, but after the game we all exchanged hugs and wished each other good luck in the next round.
"As far as studying on the road, it's definitely difficult being gone for such an extended block of time. Quon and I have been grinding through our math and physics nonstop. Aside from doing our own work, keeping in touch with classmates and professors is extremely important to be able to keep up. Luckily, we have stellar internet service in our hotel here."
"We knew going into the game against Mexico that it was going to be a tough game because they're a smart and creative team. They are also a very dangerous team because they are technically very strong and are able to possess the ball. As soon as the whistle blew to start the game off, the pace of the game was very fast. I thought we played well and we were able to disrupt Mexico's strategy of possessing the ball. Mexico, however, did give us a hard time in the final third as they defended very well. As usual, Alina was a presence in the back - intercepting passes and winning balls in the air. I thought overall the game was a good match. Mexico is always a great opponent and as you could tell from the score, it was a good test for our team. Both teams fought until the end and Alina scored a great goal off a corner. It was fun to play against Alina, although, I like it better when she is on my team! It will be a great match if we play Mexico again in the finals. Both teams will now know the strengths and weaknesses from the last game. Playing a team twice is always difficult.
"It has been pretty challenging studying on the road while trying to also focus on the games. However, my professors, coaches, and academic advisors have all been very helpful and supportive in making the process as smooth as possible for me. I have found the key to making this work has been having as much communication as possible with my professors and my advisor. Traveling with the Stanford team this fall and having to manage schoolwork during the season has definitely helped to prepare me for this trip as well. (Thankfully, T is here to help me with all my math homework!!)"