Los Angeles Soccer: Boston College
Camille Levin and Lindsay Taylor scored second-half goals Friday as top-ranked Stanford returned to the NCAA Division I women's soccer final. A victory Sunday over Notre Dame would give the Cardinal their first title.
Boston College (17-7-1) shut down star forward Christen Press (Palos Verdes Estates/Chadwick School), who failed to notch a goal or assist for just the fifth time all season, but Stanford (23-0-2) got a goal from an unlikely source to take charge in a 2-0 victory.
Levin (Newport Coast/Tarbut V'Torah) netted her second goal of the season in the 48th minute. Taylor netted an insurance goal in the 87th, her 11th goal of the season.
Notre Dame (20-2-2) reached its third final in five years. Mandy Laddish's 82nd-minute goal lifted the Fighting Irish to a 1-0 triumph over Ohio State (17-4-2).
APU OUT OF NAIA: Azusa Pacific's run to the NAIA women's title game was halted one game shy of the goal by two-time defending champion Lee University of Cleveland, Tenn. Samantha Hare's goal just 85 seconds in was the difference in a 1-0 decision that sent the Lady Flames (21-2-1) to their fourth final in six years.
Christen Press possesses nearly every meaningful record in the annals of Stanford University women's soccer -- except the one she most desires.
The senior striker from Palos Verdes Estates has been the nation's most prolific scorer over the past four years, and her exploits in front of the net have played a huge part in prodding the Cardinal to three successive College Cup final fours.
Now it's time to win.
Press, who leads the nation with 26 goals in 22 games, leads top-ranked Stanford (20-0-2) into this weekend's College Cup in Cary, N.C., and after falling to North Carolina in last year's title game, only one outcome is acceptable.
"We were all very disappointed [to lose last year], and I think we're in a season where it's the national championship or be disappointed again,” she said. "It's not impossible to have a successful year [without the title]. It would just be unsatisfying."
The Cardinal takes on Boston College (17-6-1) in a semifinal Friday (ESPNU, 3:30 p.m.), with a title-game matchup against Notre Dame (19-2-2) or Ohio State (17-4-1) looming Sunday (ESPN2, 9 a.m.).
Press, the only serious contender for every national player-of-the-year award, has been virtually unstoppable this season: She's had a goal or assist in all but four of the Cardinal's games, posted seven multigoal games -- three in her last seven outings -- and dazzled foes as the signature player in a deep, talented Stanford lineup.
Her 26 goals tied the school single-season mark set last year by Kelley O'Hara, and she set career records for goals, points and assists this season. The single-season assist record is hers, too, with 16 last year.
"Christen has been amazing all four years at Stanford," Cardinal coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "She's got the highest level of skill that you can have, I think. Great striker of the ball with both feet, and she's a goalscorer. She's got that knack. And that's hard to teach."