No. 3 Stanford finished out regular season play with an impressive 17-1-2 record and 9-1-1 finish in the Pac-12, good enough to earn the Card second in the conference behind UCLA, but most importantly, it earned them a No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. UCLA was the other Pac-12 team to earn a No. 1 seed, with USC, Arizona State, Arizona, Washington State, Washington and Cal also strongly representing the Pac-12 in upcoming tournament play.
“Seeding helps, but everybody that makes the tournament is going to be solid,” sophomore goalkeeper Jane Campbell told GoStanford.
The Card finished out the season with a 3-2 victory over No. 5 Cal, ending on a seven game win streak. With the win, the Card had secured its share of the Pac-12 title, but UCLA’s 2-0 win over rival USC earned the Bruins the title outright since the Card’s only conference loss came at the hands of the Bruins.
“I’m happy with the team’s performance through the regular season, and I think we deserve to be one of the No. 1 seeds,” head coach Paul Ratcliffe told GoStanford. “Now we’ve got to take advantage of this edge that we’ve been given. The edge is being at home.”
In addition to earning the coveted top seed, the Card also found out on Monday that they will host the first four rounds of the NCAA tournament – all the way through to the quarterfinals. The Cardinal own a 21-match home win streak in NCAA play. Stanford has played host to the first four rounds of the tournament for five of the past six years and has advanced to the College Cup each of those seasons. This year marks the program’s 16th consecutive tournament appearance and 24th total; Ratcliffe has brought the team to the NCAA Tournament in each of his 12 seasons on the Farm as head coach.
Stanford is set to take on the winner of the Big West Conference, Cal State Fullerton (10-7-4), on Friday at 7 p.m. at Cagan Stadium. The Titans, like Stanford, also enter the first round match on a seven game win streak.
“The key for us to get back to the College Cup and have a chance to win a national championship will be the health of the team, and that everyone’s strong mentally for every match,” Ratcliffe told GoStanford.
Contact Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu.