Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - October 21, 2011

Top-ranked Cardinal women's soccer hosts Utah, Colorado

by Rick Eymer

The top-ranked Stanford women's soccer team gets a different look at the Pac-12 Conference when Utah makes its premiere Friday at 7 p.m. The Cardinal (6-0, 14-0-1) meets one of its newest rivals in the Utes (4-2, 8-6-1), who come to town after beating a ranked opponent for the first time in two years.

On paper it would appear to look a little one-sided in Stanford's favor, but Utah will present its own set of challenges. The Utes are currently tied for third place in the conference with UCLA. Washington State is in second, a full three points in back of the Cardinal.

"Every game is a hard game," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "You can't take anyone lightly."

Utah has given up as many goals as it's scored this season (8 in conference play, 16 overall) but has played well after an awful start. The Utes, 1-5 on the road, have won eight of their last 11 matches, and will be bringing the reigning conference Player of the Week to town.

Utah beat then No. 18 Oregon State, 1-0, in its last match, knocking the Beavers out of a second-place tie. Stanford beat Arizona State, 3-1, in its last outing.

The Cardinal, which also will host Colorado on Sunday at 1 p.m., has allowed a goal in each of its last two games after a stretch of seven consecutive shutouts. Stanford has a 19-2 goal advantage in conference games, with Castellija grad Lindsay Taylor leading the way. She's first in the Pac-12 in shots, goals and points. Palo Alto grad Teresa Noyola leads the conference in assists.

"I've said from the beginning of the year our goals would come from anywhere," Noyola said. "That has to keep happening to open the field for others."

Three of the top four scorers in the Pac-12 wear a Stanford uniform. Taylor has 24 points, while Noyola is third with 21 and freshman sensation Chioma Ubogagu is fourth with 20. Marjani Hing-Glover is 10th with 14 points.

"She's been amazing for us all year," Ratcliffe said of Ubogagu. "She's one of the best freshmen in the country."

Stanford also has a 57-match regular-season unbeaten at stake, a 26-match Pac-12 streak and has an eye-popping 113-0-5 record since early in the 2006 season when scoring at least one goal.

Men's soccer

First things first. Before Stanford can think about a win on its road trip this weekend, it has to think about scoring.

The Cardinal (1-3-1, 4-7-2) travels to No. 23 Washington for a 7 p.m. Pac-12 Conference contest, and the road has not been kind. Stanford is 0-5 away from home and has yet to score a goal in any of those matches.

At least Stanford heads north with a win under its belt. The Cardinal beat Oregon State , 3-2, Sunday as Garrett Gunther scored twice and recorded an assist.

Stanford plays at Oregon State on Sunday afternoon.

Men's water polo

Third-ranked Stanford starts a busy five-game weekend Friday with as 3 [p.m. duel with host Pacific in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contest.

The Cardinal (2-1, 9-3) also travels to the Santa Clara Bronco Stampede Saturday and Sunday, meeting No. 17 Bucknell, Harvard, Brown and No. 18 Air Force.

The Cardinal dropped out of the top spot in the latest poll as a result of Saturday's 7-6 loss to UCLA.

Stanford got three goals from Alex Bowen, a pair from Jacob Smith and one from Forrest Watkins in last weekend's game against the Bruins. Bowen leads the squad with 25 goals, while Smith is second with 18 and Watkins third with 16.

Field hockey

Three regular-season games remain on the schedule for No. 9 Stanford (12-2, 5-0 NorPac), which hosts UC Davis on Friday night in a NorPac contest before playing at Michigan State and Michigan.

The Cardinal clinched the regular-season division title with a 3-2 victory over California last weekend.

Women's volleyball

Fifth-ranked Stanford (14-3, 8-3 Pac-12) opens the second half of Pac-12 Conference play at Arizona (13-6, 5-5 Pac-12) and Arizona State (5-14, 1-9 Pac-12) this weekend.

The Cardinal faces the Wildcats on Friday, and the Sun Devils on Saturday, with both set for 7 p.m. first serves.

The Cardinal is coming off a big three-set victory over then-No. 2 Washington on Saturday.

Women's golf

Stanford competes at the Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge beginning Friday at the par-72 Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn. The event features one of the deepest fields the Cardinal will see this season.

Ranked 43rd in the Golfweek team rankings, Stanford joins a 23-team field that includes No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Auburn, No. 3 LSU, No. 5 Alabama, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Southern California, No. 9 Arizona State, No. 10 Florida, No. 11 Washington, No. 13 Georgia, No. 14 Oregon, No. 16 California, No. 19 Colorado, No. 21 Arizona, No. 27 South Carolina, No. 28 Kentucky, No. 31 Tennessee, No. 34 Mississippi and No. 41 Arkansas.

Men's golf

The Cardinal resumes its fall schedule at The Isleworth Collegiate Invitational in Windermere, Fla., which begins Sunday.

Playing under the desert sun two weeks ago, Stanford men's golf, ranked No. 1 by Golfweek, carded a final round 278 to finish third at The Prestige at PGA West. Finishing eight strokes behind Oregon, the Cardinal posted its second top-three finish on the young season.

Women's tennis

Stanford hosts the ITA Northwest Regional Championships this weekend at Taube Family Tennis Center.

Action begins Friday and concludes Tuesday.

Men's tennis

Stanford travels to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Northwest Regional Championships, with competition beginning Friday in Seattle, Wash.

This year's event, hosted by Washington, will showcase the top players from the following ITA Northwest Region schools: California, Eastern Washington, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Oregon, Pacific, Portland, Portland State, Sacramento State, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, San Jose State, Santa Clara, UC Davis, Washington and Washington State.

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