Aug. 30, 2008
STANFORD, Calif.- Three first-half scores propelled Drexel to a 3-1 victory over Stanford on Saturday afternoon in the season opener for both teams at the Varsity Field Hockey Turf.
The Dragons (1-0, 0-0 CAA), who posted a program-best 12-9 mark last year, became the first opponent to defeat the Cardinal in a season opener since Miami (OH) squeezed out a 2-1 overtime victory back in 2005.
Stanford (0-1, 0-0 NorPac) is coming off a breakthrough season of its own, finishing 13-8 overall for its first winning season in six years while reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000.
However on Saturday, it was Drexel controlling tempo throughout the contest and outshooting Stanford 18-9.
The Dragons received goals from Kim Tunell, Susan Ciufo and Jennifer Bolger during the first 33 minutes before sophomore Katherine Donner punched in her third career goal and cut the lead to 3-1 early in the second period. Sophomore Camille Gandhi, the 2007 NorPac Rookie of the Year, was credited with the assist on the play.
Senior Hillary Braun led Stanford with three shot attempts while Gandhi added two.
Drexel did most of its damage in the first half, holding an 11-4 shot edge while taking advantage of a shuffled Cardinal lineup that was without the services of returning leading scorer sophomore Xanthe Travlos. The Dragons also held an 8-2 advantage in penalty corners, a category usually dominated by Stanford during last year's breakout campaign.
Tunell gave Drexel a 1-0 lead at the 7:25 mark, following assists from Jordan Freese and Carolina Gibernau. Three minutes later, Susan Ciufo scored unassisted to make it 2-0 when she picked up a rebound and fired past redshirt freshman Alessandra Moss, making her first career start in goal. Bolger tacked on another score in the 33rd minute, taking a pass from Tunell off a corner and scoring on a low liner to the cage.
Stanford played much better in the second half, and eventually broke through for its first score at the 48:45 mark. Gandhi fed Donner with a pass near the top of the circle, and Donner fired a strike high into the left post to give the Cardinal some life at 3-1.
Another bright spot for the Cardinal was the play of freshman goalkeeper Beth Ridley, who made her collegiate debut when she entered the contest midway through the first period and played the final 50:55. Ridley made a game-high nine saves and became the first Cardinal keeper to stop a penalty stroke attempt since Emily Zander in 2003 when she denied a try from Drexel's Gibernau in the 54th minute.
Freshman Stephanie Byrne made her first career start, junior Jennifer Luther was penciled into the starting lineup for the first time since 2006 and senior Bailey Richardson has now started in all 62 games she has played in during her career.
Stanford is back in action on Wednesday, Sept. 3, kicking off a challenging five-day, three-game stretch that begins at No. 10 Michigan State.