Nov. 10, 2009
STANFORD, Calif.- Back in the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in school history and making its first appearance since 2007, No. 14 Stanford (17-4, 5-1 NorPac) will play at No. 4 Princeton when opening round action gets underway this weekend.
The first round pairing represents a rematch of last year's NCAA Play-In game, when host Princeton defeated Stanford 8-2.
Stanford and Princeton will square off at 8:30 a.m. PT on Saturday, Nov. 14. The second game at the site pits No. 8 Syracuse against No. 9 Boston College at 11 a.m. The winners will play each other on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m.
The No. 4 overall seed in this year's tourney, Princeton (14-2, 7-0 Ivy League) has been ranked fourth in the national poll and RPI for the last several weeks. The Tigers, who earned the Ivy League's automatic bid, are making their 14th trip to the NCAA Tournament and have reached the quarterfinals in two of the last three seasons.
The Cardinal most recently qualified for the postseason in 2007, falling to No. 1 North Carolina 4-0 in a first round match at Chapel Hill, N.C. That victory jump-started a national championship run for the Tar Heels.
The postseason field includes 16 teams (five automatic bids, eight at-large berths and three play-in winners) competing in a single-elimination format. The 2009 NCAA Championship is slated for Nov. 20-22 in Winston-Salem, N.C., hosted by Wake Forest.
Stanford qualified for the postseason after posting a 3-2 overtime victory at Boston University in one of three NCAA Play-In games contested earlier this morning.
Enjoying its best season in program history, Stanford has racked up a school-record 17 victories and remained a fixture in the national rankings for the last two months. The Cardinal raced out to its best start at 8-0, rolled through conference play with a regular season title and captured the NorPac Tournament title for a third consecutive season. Thanks to a couple key road victories and the fifth-best win total in the nation, Stanford might have been a candidate for an at-large bid regardless of Tuesday's outcome.
However, Stanford removed all the guesswork with the Play-In game victory, despite trailing Boston University 1-0 at halftime and surrendering the game-tying goal with 21.7 seconds left in regulation.
Stanford has faced three top-20 squads this season, posting a 1-2 mark. Regarded as its signature win of the year, Stanford defeated No. 17 Iowa 3-2 in overtime back in September. The Cardinal suffered losses at No. 1 Maryland (6-2) and against No. 15 Louisville (4-1) at a neutral site.
Stanford is 0-8 all-time in NCAA Tournament competition.
Stay tuned to www.gostanford.com for wall-to-wall coverage of the Cardinal in the postseason.