Video interview with coach Paul Ratcliffe and midfielder Lo'eau LaBonta below.
LOS ANGELES -- For the first time since 2006, the Stanford women’s soccer team will be traveling for an early-round NCAA tournament match when the Cardinal plays South Carolina on Friday (5 p.m.) at UCLA’s Drake Stadium. A Stanford victory could create a third-round rematch with the host Bruins, who have been eliminated by the Cardinal three of the past four years. Stanford (14-5-1) is seeking to reach the College Cup for the sixth consecutive season, but South Carolina (17-3-2) promises to be a formidable obstacle to that quest.
The following is a closer look at Friday’s match:
Who: No. 17 Stanford (14-5-1) vs. No. 14 South Carolina (17-3-2)
When: Friday, 5 p.m. PT
Where: Drake Stadium, Los Angeles
Storyline: Stanford hopes to reach a sixth consecutive College Cup
All-Time Series Record: Stanford leads, 1-0
No Webcast: There will be no streaming video.
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Friday’s Opponent, South Carolina: The Gamecocks (17-3-2) are ranked No. 14 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire coaches’ rankings and No. 20 by Soccer America, and are the No. 3 seed in this 16-team NCAA quadrant. South Carolina bounced back from a 7-10-4 season last year to place third in the Southeastern Conference and reached the semifinals of the SEC tournament before losing to Texas A&M, 2-1. The Gamecocks routed Furman, 5-0, in the NCAA first round to advance to Friday’s match. Junior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo (12 shutouts, 0.57 GAA) was named as the SEC Defensive of the Year and Raina Johnson is the team’s leading scorer, with 10 goals. Defender Chris Leach joined D’Angelo on the All-SEC first team.
The Stanford-South Carolina Series: Stanford leads the all-time series, 1-0. The teams met on Nov. 18, 2011, when Stanford beat the visiting Gamecocks, 2-0, in an NCAA second round match. Mariah Nogueira headed in a first-half goal and, after goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo made a series of strong saves, Taylor McCann curled in a shot for the clinching score, in the 67th minute.
Beyond the Second Round: The Stanford-South Carolina winner plays the UCLA-Kentucky winner in the third round, also at UCLA’s Drake Stadium, on Sunday at 4 p.m. Stanford and UCLA have met three of the past four years in the NCAA tournament, with the Cardinal eliminating UCLA each time, including a 2-1 victory in a quarterfinal at Stanford last year.
Stanford’s NCAA History: The Cardinal has qualified for 16 consecutive NCAA tournaments and 23 overall. Except for the College Cup, Stanford hasn’t had to travel during the playoffs since 2006, when it played its first two rounds in Santa Clara. By beating Cal State Fullerton last week, the Cardinal won its 21st consecutive home NCAA tournament match. This is Stanford’s eighth consecutive season in which it has advanced beyond the first round. Stanford had reached the past five NCAA College Cups and has one national title, in 2011, the year it beat South Carolina in the second round. Stanford’s all-time NCAA tournament record is 40-18-5 (.675).
First Round in Review: Taylor Uhl scored the first-half goal that lifted Stanford to a 1-0 victory over visiting Cal State Fullerton in a first-round match. Uhl took a cross from Courtney Verloo and headed it against the crossbar, only to get the rebound and punch the ball into the net with her right foot at 14:00. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell made a diving fingertip save to help preserve the victory over the Big West Conference tournament champions.
Stanford’s Situational Records:
• When scoring first: 13-0
• When opponents score first: 1-5-1
• When scoring in the first 25 minutes: 7-0
• When leading at halftime: 10-0
• When tied at halftime: 4-4
• When trailing at halftime: 0-1-1
• When trailing at any time: 2-5-1
• At Home: 7-4-1
• At Opponent: 7-1
• At Neutral Field: 0-0
Pac-12 Scoring Leader: Taylor Uhl is in a three-way tie for the Pac-12 goal-scoring lead, with 11. Uhl is tied with Washington State’s Micaela Castain and UCLA freshman Darian Jenkins with 11 goals apiece. Castain’s season is over, leaving only Uhl and Jenkins among the conference’s top five scorers whose teams are still alive. Uhl’s 11th goal lifted Stanford to a 1-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the first round.
All-Conference: Five Stanford players received all-conference recognition. Fifth-year senior forward Courtney Verloo was named to the All-Pac-12 first team. Junior midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta and freshman central defender Maddie Bauer were named to the second team, and junior forward Chioma Ubogagu was honorable mention. Also, Bauer and midfielder/defender Stephanie Amack were named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team.
Finding the Right Combination: Stanford has used 14 different lineups in 19 matches. Some facts about the lineups:
• Six freshmen have started, with Maddie Bauer the most frequent (18).
• Three players have started every match: defender Laura Liedle, midfielder Alex Doll, and forward Courtney Verloo.
• Twenty-one players have started at least once.
• Four is the most matches for any particular lineup, used Oct. 25-Nov. 3. But that lineup never was used at home. The team went 3-1 in that span.
Overtime: Stanford has played six overtime matches, with four going into double overtime. Stanford’s overtime record is 3-2-1, including 2-1-1 in double overtime. Here’s how Stanford’s overtime matches ended:
• Alex Doll scored on a rebound in the 108th minute to give Stanford a 2-1 season-opening victory at Boston College (Aug. 23).
• Haley Rosen’s goal in the 67th minute tied the match, but Stanford was held to a 1-1 double-OT draw against visiting Portland (Aug. 31).
• Courtney Verloo completed a hat trick by scoring on a 22-yard free kick in the 108th minute to beat host Santa Clara, 3-2, in double OT (Sept. 22).
• Taylor Uhl scored with eight seconds left in the first overtime to give Stanford a 2-1 victory over visiting Arizona in the Cardinal’s Pac-12 home opener (Oct. 4).
• Lo’eau LaBonta tied the Pac-12 showdown with visiting UCLA in the 89th minute, but Bruins’ OT sub Lauren Kaskie scored on a counterattack in the 106th for a 2-1 double OT UCLA victory (Oct. 10).
• In the regular-season finale, Stanford allowed a header by Rachel Mercik in the 99th minute to give Cal a 1-0 victory (Nov. 6).
• Goalkeeper: Jane Campbell, fr. Replaced sr. Emily Oliver, who was forced to retire.
• Left back: Laura Liedle, so. Leads back line that has started together for 14 games.
• Center back: Maddie Bauer, fr. Leadership role is expanding for freshman.
• Center back: Kendall Romine, RS jr. Most experienced defender.
• Right back: Natalie Griffen, sr. Ex-forward has speed, skill and strong marking.
• Midfield: Alex Doll, jr. A true blue-collar player with great stamina.
• Midfield: Lo’eau LaBonta, jr. Provides playmaking abilities and attacking mindset.
• Midfield: Stephanie Amack, fr. Played on the U20 World Cup winning U.S. side.
• Forward: Courtney Verloo, RS sr. Has six set-piece goals this season.
• Forward: Chioma Ubogagu, jr. Great at combination play and is shooting more.
• Forward: Sydney Payne, jr. Provides speed and ability to get to the end line.