Nov. 9, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford received a top seed in the 64-team NCAA women's soccer tournament and opens with a home match Thursday against Northern Arizona as part of a first-round doubleheader.
BYU and UC Santa Barbara play Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, followed by Stanford's match at 7 p.m. The winners play in the second round, also at Stanford, on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for youths and seniors. One ticket is good for both Thursday matches, but the stadium will be cleared out between games and all personal belongings must be picked up as well.
Ticket sales begin Monday night at 9 p.m. on-line only at gostanford.com. Phone orders and walk-up sales begin Tuesday at 9 a.m. The ticket office, which is located at the south end of Stanford Stadium, can be reached at 1-800-STANFORD and (650) 723-1021.
The addition of 700 bleacher seats has expanded the capacity of Cagan Stadium to 2,200 for the tournament.
Stanford (20-0) enters the tournament as the consensus No. 1 team and is one of four No. 1 seeds, including UCLA, North Carolina and Florida State.
If the seeds hold, Stanford would play BYU in the second round, Santa Clara in the third, Boston College in the quarterfinals, UCLA in the semifinals, and North Carolina or Florida State in the final. Portland, the nation's No. 2-ranked team, is in UCLA's bracket and Notre Dame, which beat Stanford in the 2008 semifinals, is in Florida State's.
"I'm excited," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "I don't want it to end. We just want to keep the season alive. We want to keep having fun and keep playing games."
The Pac-10 Conference placed eight teams in the Tournament, and Stanford has played and beaten 15 teams in the tournament field.
"I just shows the strength of our conference," Ratcliffe said. "And it gives us confidence because we've played some great teams."
The following is a closer look at the first round matches at Stanford:
BYU (17-3-2) vs. UC Santa Barbara (9-9-3), 4:30 p.m.:
BYU, ranked No. 17 in the latest NSCAA coaches' poll, advanced as an at-large following its 1-0 loss to San Diego State in the championship of the Mountain West Conference tournament. The Cougars won the MWC regular-season title and feature the conference's Defensive Player of the Year, Andrea Willis, and Freshman of the Year, Carlee Payne, the team's leading scorer with 13 goals. Common opponents with Stanford: Hawaii (T, 0-0 2OT), Oregon State (W, 2-1 2OT), Arizona (W, 1-0), Oregon (W, 1-0), San Diego State (T, 2-2 2OT; L, 1-0).
UCSB earned an NCAA berth by winning won the Big West Conference tournament on penalty kicks, 5-4, over Cal Poly after they had tied 1-1 through two overtimes. Sophomore midfielder Katy Roby tied the match in the 69th minute and was named MVP of the tournament. Kailyn Kugler leads the team with nine goals. Common opponents with Stanford: Santa Clara (L, 2-0), Arizona (L, 2-1), UCLA (L, 3-1), Cal Poly (L, 2-0; T, 1-1, won on PKs).
Stanford (20-0) vs. Northern Arizona (10-8-2), 7 p.m.:
Stanford, the consensus No. 1, won the Pacific-10 Conference title and became the first team in conference history to earn a perfect record through the regular season. Senior forward Kelley O'Hara has set school season records for goals (23) and points (55) and leads a team that has outscored opponents 70-12, including 48-8 in the second half. Stanford reached the NCAA College Cup semifinals last year, but has never reached a final.
Northern Arizona advanced to the NCAAs by beating Idaho, 4-0, in the Big Sky Conference tournament final Sunday. The Lumberjacks tied for third in the conference standings before their tournament run. Junior defender Kristi Andreassen, midfielder Brenna Boies and sophomore forward Jenna Samora each were named to the All-Big Sky first team, with Samora leading the team with eight goals. Common opponents with Stanford: Arizona (T, 2-2 2OT), Arizona State (L, 4-0).
"These are all strong teams," Ratcliffe said. "I'll look at their teams' strengths and weaknesses, but probably I'll be looking at our own strengths and weaknesses to win games."