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Nov. 8, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford received a top seed in the 64-team NCAA women's soccer tournament and opens with a home match Friday against Sacramento State as part of a first-round doubleheader.
The following is the schedule for the first and second rounds at Stanford's Laird Q. Cagan Stadium:
Santa Clara (12-6-2) vs. Long Beach State (14-5-2), 4:30 p.m.
Stanford (18-0-2) vs. Sacramento State (9-9-1), 7 p.m.
Winners at 1 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for youths and seniors. One ticket is good for both Friday matches. The first 50 Stanford students each day will be admitted free. The addition of 700 bleacher seats has expanded the capacity of Cagan Stadium to 2,200 for the tournament.
Tickets go on sale beginning Monday at 3 p.m. They can be purchased on-line at gostanford.com, by phone at 1-800-STANFORD and (650) 723-1021, or at the Stanford ticket office (hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.) at the south end of Stanford Stadium.
Stanford, the Pac-10 champion, enters the tournament as the consensus No. 1 team and is one of four No. 1 seeds, including Portland, Maryland, and North Carolina.
"We've got to take the momentum from the regular season into the playoffs, perform to the best of our ability, get positive results and move forward," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "The team's performing very well, but I expect us to get better."
If the seeds hold, Stanford would play Santa Clara in the second round, Central Florida in the third, Florida State in the quarterfinals, Portland in the semifinals, and North Carolina or Maryland in the final.
Stanford has reached the NCAA College Cup the past two years, but lost in the semifinals to Notre Dame in 2008, and in the 2009 final to North Carolina, 1-0, after entering the match with a perfect record.
"Those experiences are going to be invaluable," Ratcliffe said. "And, I think confidence is critical. Let's be very confident, believe in each other, believe in ourselves, and compete as hard as we can."
The Pac-10 Conference placed seven teams in the tournament, and Stanford has an 11-0-2 record against teams in the tournament field.
"Everybody's ready to go," senior captain Allison McCann said. "Everybody looks really good, we have a lot of depth, and Christen Press (the nation's leading scorer) is doing incredibly right now.
"We're not anywhere near stopping. It's going to be a good run."
The following is a closer look at the first-round matches at Stanford:
Santa Clara (12-6-2) vs. Long Beach State (14-5-2):
Santa Clara advanced as an at-large after finishing in a tie for second in the West Coast Conference. The Broncos enter the tournament having lost three of their past four matches, including their final two (at Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine). Goalkeeper Bianca Henninger, the United States' starter in July's FIFA Under-20 World Cup, has a 0.64 goals-against average. Anessa Patton is the team leader in goals (9) and points (20). On Oct. 3, Santa Clara lost at Stanford, 2-0. If they play each other in the second round, it would mark their eighth NCAA Tournament meeting.
Long Beach State earned an NCAA berth by winning the Big West Conference tournament, 1-0, over top-seeded UC Irvine. Bo Rael scored the winner in the 53rd minute to give the 49ers their first conference tournament title and second NCAA berth. Long Beach, which finished second in the conference season, already has tied its school-record of 14 victories. Sophomore forward Nadia Link leads the team in goals (8) and points (17).
Stanford (18-0-2) vs. Sacramento State (9-9-1):
Stanford, the consensus No. 1, won its second consecutive Pac-10 title with a perfect conference record. The Cardinal enters the tournament with a 31-match home winning streak and a 17-match overall winning streak, and has won its past eight NCAA Tournament matches at home. Christen Press leads the nation in goals (23) and points (53). She is Stanford's career leader in goals, points, and assists. Freshman goalkeeper Emily Oliver is No. 3 in the nation in goals-against average (0.299).
Sacramento State advanced to the NCAAs for the second time in its history, by beating top-seeded Northern Arizona, 1-0, in the Big Sky Conference tournament final in Flagstaff, Ariz. Elece McBride scored the winner in the 52nd minute and was named tournament MVP. Sacramento State, the Big Sky's third-place team, is led by senior forward Leah Larot, a San Jose product who has 10 goals and 21 points. The Hornets only other NCAA appearance resulted in a 7-0 first-round loss to Stanford, at Cagan Stadium.
"You can't overlook any team," Ratcliffe said. "Sacramento State's a really strong team. They're going to come in and battle, and we have to be prepared to battle back."