Stanford aims to make history

[WOMEN'S COLLEGE CUP] Stanford looks to make history and become the only school besides North Carolina and go undefeated and untied in a season, but first things first. The Cardinal (24-0-0) must get past Pac-10 rival UCLA. It beat the Bruins, 2-0, six weeks ago, but UCLA has gotten hot in the NCAA Tournament, leading all teams with 17 goals in four games.

The Cardinal is arguably the deepest team in the country with at least three players on the bench -- freshmen Mariah Nogueira and Courtney Verloo and sophomore Camille Levin -- who would start for most teams in the country. Teresa Noyola, one of the nation's top playmakers, didn't even start the first three games of the NCAA Tournament.

For the Bruins, it's their seventh straight trip to the final four, but a national championship has been elusive up until now.

Key players:
Kelley O'Hara. The Stanford senior is the heavy favorite to win Player of the Year honors, and she has lived up to her billing in the NCAA Tournament, assisting on all four goals in the first two games, both 2-0 wins, and scoring twice in the 3-1 over Boston College in the quarterfinals. The two goals tied her with Portland's Danielle Foxhoven for the national lead with 25 goals and her 63 points now lead the country. She and Christen Press form the highest-scoring tandem in the country, combining for 45 goals, 28 assists and 118 points.

Sydney Leroux. UCLA's Canadian-born striker missed the 2008 NCAA Tournament to represent the USA at the 2008 Under-20 Women's World Cup, where won the Golden Ball as the tournament's MVP. With eight goals in her first three 2009 NCAA Tournament games, Leroux surpassed injured teammate Kara Lang's record of 15 points in an NCAA Tournament and tied Lauren Cheney's single-season school goal record of 23.

Stanford Probable Starters
Goalkeeper
1 Kira Maker, JR Potomac, Md.
Defenders
3 Ali Riley, SR Pacific Palisades, Calif.
4 Alina Garciamendez,  FR Fairview, Texas
6 Alicia Jenkins, SR Diamond Springs, Calif.
11 Rachel Quon, FR Lake Forest, Ill.
Midfielders
7 Teresa Noyola, SO Palo Alto, Calif.
21 Hillary Heath, SR Seattle, Wash.
22 Allison McCann, JR Carlsbad, Calif.
Forwards
17 Lindsay Taylor, SO Los Altos, Calif.
19 Kelley O'Hara, SR Fayetteville, Ga.
23 Christen Press, JR Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

UCLA Probable Starters
Goalkeeper
 27 Chante Sandiford, SO Owings Mills, Md.
Defenders
 3 Lauren Barnes, JR Upland, Calif.
10 Lauren Wilmoth, SR Garland, Texas
19 Jenna Belcher, JR Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
23 Dea Cook, SR Acampo, Calif.
Midfielders
 5 Zakiya Bywaters, FR  Las Vegas, Nev.
11 Chelsea Cline, FR Des Moines, Iowa
18 Kylie Wright, JR Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
Forwards
2 Sydney Leroux, SO Vancouver, B.C.
8 Lauren Cheney, SR Indianapolis, Ind.
20 Kristina Larsen, SR Mission Viejo, Calif.

Next story loading loading..