STANFORD, Calif. – No. 8 Stanford will pursue its sixth consecutive victory as NorPac conference play opens against Cal on Friday at 2:30 p.m. on the Varsity Turf.
Stanford (5-1, 0-0 NorPac) has continued its dominance as the NorPac's top program, securing last year's West Division regular season title for a fourth straight season. The Cardinal has won 12 of the past 16 meetings against Cal (3-3, 0-0 NorPac), including a sweep of three games last year. Not bad, considering the Golden Bears entered the 2007 NorPac Tournament title game having won 18 straight in the series dating back to 2001.
Six of the last seven NorPac Championship title games have resulted in a Stanford-Cal match, with the Cardinal taking four of those contests.
Cal enters Friday’s match looking to rebound after last weekend’s 2-1 double-overtime loss against Northwestern and a 1-0 loss to Ohio the following day. The Golden Bears are led offensively by Andrea Earle, who has tallied nine points on four goals and an assist – doubling the amount of goals and points of any of her teammates. Courtney Hendrickson has been strong in goal for Cal and holds a 1.22 GAA and .810 save percentage.
Stanford is riding a five-game winning streak after dropping its season opener in double-overtime to No. 4 Connecticut, 2-1, and has not allowed a goal in the past three games. The Cardinal last surrendered a goal on Sept. 6 in the second minute against No. 20 New Hampshire – a span stretching 278:39.
The Stanford defense has been almost impenetrable during the three-game shutout streak, allowing just eight shots. Dulcie Davies has been solid in the cage and holds a 0.80 GAA, which ranks fourth-best in the nation.
The Cardinal offense has been imposing and holds advantages over opponents in shots (100-28), penalty corners (54-13) and goals (16-5). Stanford ranks 10th in the nation with an average of nine penalty corners per game.
Stanford opened last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Central Michigan. The Cardinal held advantages in shots (23-3) and penalty corners (13-4) but was unable to get on the board until Clemence Couteau netted the game-winner on Stanford’s 20th shot. It was Couteau’s second consecutive game-winner after scoring the go-ahead goal against VCU on Sept. 8.
Of Couteau’s three shots this season, two have been game winners. She was named the NorPac Offensive Player of the Week for her clutch performance.
The Cardinal followed with another impressive victory on Sunday, knocking off No. 8 Iowa 2-0. It is the highest ranked opponent Stanford has beaten since a 3-0 win at No. 7 Michigan on Oct. 30, 2011. Courtney Haldeman scored the game-winner and Kelsey Harbin provided insurance, as the two joined Hope Burke with a team-leading three goals apiece.
The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network and live stats will be available via gostanford.com.