Media Guide | Soza Says | Statistics
STANFORD, Calif.- Outshoot the opponent, take advantage of penalty corner opportunities, score early and often.
That's essentially been the game plan all year long for No. 15 Stanford, which is enjoying its best season in school history.
On Saturday afternoon, that same formula resulted in a third consecutive conference tournament championship.
Backed by three early goals and a stout defense, Stanford blanked rival California 3-0 in the 2009 NorPac Championship title game. The hardware will remain in Stanford's trophy case, as the Cardinal has defeated the Golden Bears in the championship game for the third straight year.
"This was a total team effort and I'm really proud of our team," said head coach Lesley Irvine, who earlier in the week earned her second NorPac Coach of the Year honor in three seasons after directing Stanford (16-4, 5-1 NorPac) to its winningest year in program history. "It's been a tremendous season and we have played to our potential. Today we were aggressive early in the game and played with confidence. It also helped that we had such a great tournament overall, and we were able to keep players fresh and receive contributions from everyone."
Irvine's squad has dominated offensively all season long, entering the week as the third-best unit in the nation. Through 20 games, Stanford has tallied 84 goals, 57 assists, 225 points and 393 shots. All are single-season school records.
The next step is becoming familiar territory for Stanford. Because the NorPac Championship winner is not awarded an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal must participate in an NCAA Play-In game. This year's NorPac winner is matched up against the tournament champion from the America East Conference, so Stanford will now play at Boston University on Tuesday morning with an NCAA Tournament berth on the line.
Stanford has advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight times in school history, most recently in 2007.
In sharp contrast to the previous two NorPac championship games, Stanford dominated play from the start. The Cardinal held a 14-3 shot edge over the first 35 minutes while owning a 4-1 advantage in penalty corners.
Stanford outshot California (8-11, 4-2 NorPac) by a 21-11 count overall, attempting seven penalty corners compared to just three from the Golden Bears.
The tone was set in the sixth minute of the game, when freshman Becky Dru gave Stanford a 1-0 lead off a textbook penalty corner attempt. Junior Jaimee Erickson injected the ball to senior Nora Soza, who provided a well-placed stick-stop, and Dru capped the perfectly-executed play with her 13th goal of the season.
Two minutes later, junior Xanthe Travlos banged home her team-leading 16th goal of the season, when she corralled the rebound of her initial attempt and fired a low shot past Cal keeper Maddie Hand. Travlos' score gave Stanford a 2-0 cushion as most of the 412 fans in attendance were still filing in as Stanford's football team was playing host to No. 8 Oregon at the same time.
Travlos wrapped up the tournament with six goals in three games, pacing Stanford's offensive attack. Following the game, she was quick to credit the team's depth as a reason the Cardinal ranks as one of the nation's most prolific offenses.
"We scored 18 goals over three days in this tournament, and that's a tribute to our offense as a whole," said Travlos. "Nobody puts added pressure on themselves and it's a complete team effort. We are not reliant on one person to score, because we have many players who are capable of finding the cage. It has been a total team effort all season long."
In the 19th minute, sophomore Stephanie Byrne tacked on an insurance score to make it 3-0. Following a penalty corner attempt, junior Rachel Mozenter dribbled through the inside of the circle and dished a quick pass to Byrne, who found the cage for her sixth goal of the year.
California began to apply more pressure in the second half, holding an 8-7 edge in shots. But the Stanford defense made plays at key times, turning away any legitimate scoring threats.
Stanford keeper Alessandra Moss was once again effective between the posts, making nine saves and doing her part after rarely being tested during the first two games of the tournament that resulted in Cardinal blowouts.
California's Natalie Nurnberg led all players with six shots, while Dru led Stanford with five attempts. Travlos and junior Camille Gandhi chipped in with four shots.
California keeper Maddie Hand made 11 saves.
2009 NorPac Championship All-Tournament Team
Xanthe Travlos (Stanford)- MVP
Lydia Brambila (UC Davis)
Becky Dru (Stanford)
Kim Keyawa (Pacific)
Lauren Kloeppenger (Appalachian State)
Liz Luckey (Davidson)
Alessandra Moss (Stanford)
Natalie Nurnberg (California)
Nora Soza (Stanford)
Sophie Sproats (California)
Kelsey Turner (Longwood)
Madonna Wadolowski (Radford)
NOTES: After splitting the season series with each team winning on their home turf, Stanford took two of the three meetings against California. Since California won 18 in a row from 2001-2007, Stanford has now won five of the last seven meetings- with three of those coming in the NorPac Tourney title game ... Stanford was routed 8-2 by Princeton on the road in last year's NCAA Play-In game, but defeated Lock Haven 1-0 at home in the 2007 NCAA Play-In game ... Xanthe Travlos' 16 goals are the most for a Cardinal player since Sara Hallock found the cage 25 times in 1993 ... Stanford has scored at least three goals in a match 16 times this year ... Stanford improved to 9-0 at home this year and has now 12 in a row at the Varsity Turf dating back to a 1-0 loss against Albany on Sept. 18, 2008 ... Alessandra Moss lowered her GAA to 1.50, and has made 102 saves while notching six shutouts ... Seniors Rachel Bush and Marlana Shile were substituted into the game following a timeout with 26 seconds remaining in the game, meaning all six Stanford seniors saw action in the contest ... Stanford has outscored its opponents 47-13 in the first half this year.