Oct. 23, 2012
STANFORD, Calif.- No. 13 Stanford concluded its regular season on a positive note, blanking California 2-0 on Tuesday night in front of a spirited crowd at the Varsity Turf.
Sweeping the season series against California for the second straight year, Stanford will now try to stay fresh during an eight-day layoff leading into next weekend's NorPac Tournament in Farmville, Va.
The Cardinal (12-6, 6-0 NorPac) posted its third straight victory and notched a perfect record in conference play for the second straight year.
Stanford also extended its dominance over California (5-11, 1-4 NorPac), having now won 11 of the last 15 meetings overall against its rival in the series.
Even more impressively, Stanford managed to keep California off the scoreboard despite playing short-handed through key stretches of the game. The Cardinal was issued three cards (two yellow, one green), totaling a combined 17 minutes of penalty time in which the Golden Bears enjoyed a one-player advantage.
"I think we did a good job of sticking to the game plan, and the second half unfolded the way we would have hoped for," said head coach Tara Danielson, who picked up her 50th career victory. "Considering we were down a player for 17 minutes of the game, I thought we executed well and were very resilient defensively. Our defensive effort was indicative of the hard work our players have put in during the year."
A scoreless first half featured few opportunities for both clubs, with Stanford holding a modest 5-2 shot edge. Yellow cards assessed to Becky Dru and Courtney Haldeman resulted in the Cardinal playing without its top two goal scorers.
Four minutes into the second period, Alex McCawley put Stanford in front 1-0 when she scored her fifth goal of the year. Positioned just inside the circle, McCawley wheeled around her defender and blistered a shot into the cage.
The Cardinal continued to pressure and tacked on an insurance goal in the 63rd minute, when Emily Henriksson tapped home her third goal thanks to assists from Hope Burke and Kelsey Harbin following a textbook penalty corner.
Stanford owned a 13-4 edge in shots and attempted three of the game's four penalty corners.
Dulcie Davies made two saves while registering her fifth shutout.
Next up for Stanford is the NorPac Tournament, scheduled for Nov. 1-3. As usual, the conference tournament winner must also then prevail in an NCAA Play-In game to qualify for the NCAA Tournament since the NorPac does not own an automatic bid. During the past five years, Stanford has been that team, winning four conference tournament titles and three NCAA Play-In games.
The winner of this year's NorPac Tournament faces the conference tournament champion of the Mid-American Conference in a neutral-site game that will be played at Farmville, Va.
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NOTES: Becky Dru, Emily Henriksson, Kelsey Lloyd, Katie Mitchell, Colleen Ryan and Alysha Sekhon were honored in a pregame Senior Night ceremony. Among the accomplishments for the six-member senior class: 61-21 record, 22-2 NorPac record, 27-5 home record, 7-3 record against Cal, three NCAA Tournament appearances, four NorPac regular season titles and establishing a school record with 17 victories twice (2009, 2011) ... The Cardinal finished 6-2 this year in games played at the Varsity Turf ... Tuesday's game represented the fourth appearance on the Pac-12 Networks. Stanford compiled a 3-1 record in those TV games ... Tuesday marked the final home game for 2011 NFHCA First Team All-American Becky Dru, one of the greatest players in school history. In 82 career games, Dru has totaled 51 goals, 32 assists, 134 points, 293 shots and 14 game-winning goals ... The Cardinal has totaled 275 shot attempts this year (136 in the first half, 134 in the second half).