A day after sealing the Pac-10 title, the Cardinal learned today that its undefeated effort in the regular season has put the team in excellent position to pursue its next goal, a national championship. Top-ranked Stanford (18-0-2, 9-0-0 Pac-10) has earned a No. 1 seed in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field, a rank that grants the team home-field advantage for the first two rounds.
Stanford will begin its postseason against Sacramento State (9-9-1) at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. That match comes on the heels of a 4:30 p.m. contest between Santa Clara (12-6-2) and Long Beach State (14-5-2), which Stanford will also host. The winners of those games will play each other on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Fresh off its second consecutive undefeated season and riding a 17-game winning streak, the Cardinal enters the tournament as the unanimous No. 1 team. The other No. 1 seeds are Portland, Maryland and North Carolina. Stanford fought through two overtimes to force a draw with 2009 champion North Carolina in August and defeated Portland, 2-1, in late September. The Tar Heels defeated Stanford in last season’s NCAA Tournament final. The Cardinal hasn’t faced Maryland this season.
Sacramento State earned its way into the NCAAs for the second time in school history after defeating a powerful Northern Arizona team, 1-0, in the final game of the Big Sky Conference Tournament. The only other time the Hornets advanced to the national tournament, Stanford defeated them, 7-0, in the first round.