Oct. 31, 2006
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Friday, Nov. 3 - 7 p.m. - Stanford, Calif.
No. 10 California Golden Bears (12-4-1, 7-2-0 Pac-10)
- at -
Stanford Cardinal (6-7-4, 4-3-2 Pac-10)
The Opening Kick-Off
Stanford (6-7-4, 4-3-2 Pac-10) hosts California (12-4-1, 7-2-1 Pac-10) in the regular season finale for both teams on Friday night at Maloney Field. In addition to the exciting atmosphere that accompanies the long-standing rivalry, Stanford will honor its four seniors during a pregame ceremony. Not to mention, an upset by the Cardinal over the Pac-10 champion Golden Bears would greatly increase Stanford's outside shot at an at-large NCAA Tournament berth.
California's 4-1 victory over UCLA last weekend assured the Golden Bears of their first-ever Pac-10 championship, as they have totaled 21 points with one match remaining. San Diego State currently ranks second in the Pac-10, at 5-2-2 overall with 17 points. Stanford and UCLA are tied for third, as both teams stand 4-3-2 with 14 points. The Pac-10 does not meet NCAA Tournament automatic qualification requirements because it has not had six teams with core membership competing for two years. Therefore, any Pac-10 teams selected for the NCAA Tournament would be considered at-large entrants.
Scouting No. 10 California
California is simply excited to be playing anyone other than San Diego State, as the Aztecs handed the Golden Bears both of their conference losses- one of which occurred last week. That being said, California is enjoying a stellar season and its chances of representing the Pac-10 in next week's NCAA Tournament are very good. The Golden Bears- who have already captured the conference crown- have won six of their last seven overall and boast the Pac-10's stingiest defense. Leading the way are: Javier Ayala-Hill (nine goals, 20 points, 36 shots), Steve Purdy (five goals, 12 points) and Justin Myers (0.67 GAA, six shutouts, 36 saves).
Stanford All-Time vs. California
Stanford holds a 23-14-7 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to 1973. However, California has won seven of the last nine meetings, with the other two games resulting in a tie. That includes this year, as the Golden Bears blanked the Cardinal 2-0 back on Oct. 20 in Berkeley. The last time Stanford defeated California was Nov. 11, 2001, when the Cardinal posted a 2-0 shutout in Berkeley.
Quite A Turnaround
With an upset over California on Friday, Stanford can even its record back to .500. Quite an achievement, considering the Cardinal is coming off a 4-11-3 season and has not registered a winning season since 2004. In addition, Stanford's four Pac-10 victories are more than the prior three seasons combined and represent the club's best effort since compiling a 5-3-2 league mark in 2002. An upset win at Washington and a pair of ties against four-time defending Pac-10 champion UCLA have factored into the impressive turnaround.
Cardinal Get Moore Help In Goal
Freshman goalkeeper John Moore, who has played in 14 games, ranks second in the Pac-10 in saves (54) and GAA (0.89). Moore has notched four shutouts on the season, including the first of his career on Sept. 15 in a 2-0 win over Sacramento State. His other three shutouts have come against Pac-10 competition.