Local players help lead Stanford to NCAA women’s soccer title

In the same soccer club but on different teams and apart three years in age, homegrown standout Kyra Carusa and talented Brazilian immigrant Catarina Macario knew of each other. Yet they didn’t meet until becoming college teammates.For introductions, Carusa greeted Macario upon her arrival this year at Stanford University, two forwards linked by their San Diego Surf club background and the desire to reach the pinnacle of the women’s college game.“I played on the Surf, and I remember hearing your name a lot,” the Del Norte High alum told the incoming freshman from Torrey Pines. “We’re from San Diego, and we have the best tacos around. ...”Also, it’s home of two new NCAA championship players since the San Diego duo each produced highlight moments in helping the Cardinal top UCLA 3-2 in the College Cup final this month in Orlando, Fla.Carusa scored the first goal with an assist from Macario, and Macario added a second assist in also finishing as the season’s national points leader.“When you’re in high school, (the NCAA title) is this great thing, but you have no idea what it means to actually win it or what it takes to actually win it. You just know that everyone wants it,” said Carusa, a redshirt junior named to the All-Pac-12 second team for the third straight year. “When you get to college, all of the sudden you can associate this goal with the hours of work, the injuries and the mental and physical stress of (about) 25 games in three months. Then you realize how much more it actually means.”The trip to the tournament final extended the season closer to the academic finals ending the fall quarter. Upon their return, players studied and took exams ending the next week before heading home for the holidays.“Honestly, it doesn’t feel real yet,” said Macario, referring to the title following her last exam. “Each day I just kept trying to get better and better until Continue Reading

Stanford wins women’s soccer championship game over UCLA

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Stanford midfielder Jaye Boissiere scored the winner in the 67th minute as the Cardinal claimed their second NCAA women's soccer title with a 3-2 win over UCLA.Boissiere's left-footed shot from 25 yards supplemented first-half goals from Kyra Carusa and Andi Sullivan to give Stanford its 22nd straight win this season and first title since 2011. The Cardinal dominated possession for much of the game, outshooting UCLA 15-5.UCLA (19-3-3) rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game on second-half goals from Jessie Fleming and Delanie Sheehan. However, Boissiere's shot curled just inside the far post, and UCLA was unable to find an equalizer. MORE:Stanford dominated the first half, but it took a misplay by UCLA keeper Teagan Micah for the Cardinal to get on the board. Micah misplayed a carom pass by Stanford forward Catarina Macario, letting it bound over her head and on to Carusa's foot. The Cardinal forward quickly volleyed the ball into an open net 15 minutes into the game.Ten minutes later, Sullivan made a timely cut through the UCLA defense, took a perfect pass from Madison Haley and was free just inside the penalty box. She whipped a right-footed shot past Micah.Fleming scored on a penalty kick, and Sheehan headed home a goal to tie the game in the 58th minute. PHOTOS: Day in sports Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Continue Reading

Make no mistake, wins for Gabby Douglas and U.S.  women’s soccer teams were also gold medals for Title IX

The 2012 London Olympic Games have already been christened the "women's games." Women seemed to dominate the television programming, the personal interest stories and more importantly for America, the medal count. Female athletes contributed 55% of America's total medals and 66% of the golds. Without women pulling more than their fair share, America would probably have finished a distant second behind China in the medal count. Make no mistake, Title IX won the Olympics for America. Forty years after the landmark legislation, Title IX is paying dividends for female American athletes, and America. The talent on the American soccer team was cultivated in U.S. collegiate athletic programs; the same can be said for the track stars. As for water-polo, would America even have been able to form a world-class team without the experience players gleaned from college programs? Probably not. Title IX is a huge success on many levels — not just the Olympic medal count. According to the NCAA, 900% more high-school girls now participate in sports than before the enacting of Title IX in 1972. And over 450% more women play collegiate sports. Perhaps more surprisingly, and less reported, are the participation rates for male athletes since Title IX was introduced. High school rates have increased by 15% and collegiate participation has increased by 31%. Title IX benefitted sports. Period. Title IX has made young female athletes unapologetic. Look at Gabby Douglas. While the media got in a tizzy about Gabby's hair, she appeared quite mystified at the attention on her hairstyle rather than her floor performance. The confidence athletics has traditionally instilled in boys is now extended to girls. Title IX may have pushed women onto the playing field, but women can now carry the self-worth, skills and experience they gain into their personal life and careers. ROLF VENNENBERND/EPA Gabby Douglas The female American Olympians are not first generation beneficiaries of Title IX, Continue Reading

U.S. women’s national soccer team is missing the color of America

Briana Scurry made her name in the nets, providing a resolute barrier to intrusion during an illustrious 14-year career with the U.S. women's soccer national team. The goalkeeper may have appeared right at home once she got there, but she took a somewhat unconventional route. Although she'd excelled at the sport from an early age and garnered All-American status as a high school standout in Dayton, Minn., her tiny hometown, Scurry says it was only a personal connection between her club soccer coach and Jim Rudy, the former University of Massachusetts coach, that got her the look she needed to land a scholarship. "I completely came in the back window because the front doors were closed to me," says Scurry, 39, who started in goal for the U.S. national team in two Olympics and three World Cups, and played professionally until her retirement last year. As a teenager, Scurry tried out for the Olympic Development Program but did not advance beyond the state level; she never played with the developmental teams of the U.S. Soccer women's program. But in 1993, while she led UMass to NCAA women's soccer championship semifinals, she demonstrated her value to North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance, who was then coaching the U.S. national squad. The fact that she was the only African-American player at UMass, she says, didn't really dawn on her at the time, but Scurry says she has since begun to wonder what factor her race may have played throughout the course of her career. "I think about it more now because I'm trying to think if there's something I'm missing," she says. "Clearly, there is." Women's soccer has skyrocketed, both in quality and popularity, during the past 20 years in the U.S., but Scurry and others say that many minority women are being left out. "Soccer is simply not a choice for young African-American girls," she says, crediting her parents' decision to move to a predominately white suburban neighborhood outside Minneapolis as the "only reason Continue Reading

Women’s Soccer: Monmouth wins MAAC championship; bound for NCAAs

The Monmouth University women’s soccer team is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season, and for the third time in five years.The Hawks (15-3-2) grabbed the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s automatic bid on Wednesday with a resounding 5-1 win over Manhattan in final at the MAAC Championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.It marks the fifth time the program has qualified for the national championship under head coach Krissy Turner, in her 20th season on the sideline.Five different players scored goals against the Jaspers, as Monmouth built a 5-0 advantage before losing the shutout in the 78th minute.``An amazing performance today,'' said Turner. ``We played great soccer, scored good goals and were just fantastic all around. I am super proud of the sacrifice and commitment this team displayed all season.'' Junior midfielder Alli DeLuca opened the scoring by beating goalie Kellie DiGregorio with a shot from 12 yard out that found the upper left corner of the net, with sophomore Lexie Palladino, who scored twice in Tuesday’s semifinal victory, picking up the assist.The Hawks then exploded for four goals in less than 16 minutes early in the second half to put the game away.Senior forward Rachelle Ross scored the eventual game-winner, her sixth goal of the season, putting it in the net from six yards out off a cross by sophomore Madie Gibson.Jazlyn Moya, a junior forward, scored the first of three goals in a span of 3:04 in the 69th minute, with sophomore defender Jessica Johnson scoring off a free kick from 20 yards out in the 71st minute.Gibson closed out the scoring with a blast from 16 yards out in the 72nd minute.Monmouth held a 23-5 advantage in shots, as keeper Amanda Knaub was credit with one save.Allie Girardi was named the 2017 MAAC Championship Most Outstanding Player, while Gibson, Palladino and Miranda Konstantinides were named to the All-Tournament Team.The Continue Reading

Women’s Soccer: Top-seeded Monmouth advances at MAAC Championship

Madie Gibson, a redshirt sophomore forward from Cape May, scored her fifth goal of the season in 84th minute Sunday to lift the top-seeded Monmouth University women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Niagara in the quarterfinals of the MAAC Championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.The Hawks (13-3-2) advance to face Siena, a 1-0 winner against Marist on Sunday, in Tuesday’s semifinals. The game will kickoff at 11 a.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN3.Junior forward Jazlyn Moya set up the game-winner with a cross into the box from the left side, with Gibson putting the ball past Niagara goalkeeper Sabrina Locas with 6:38 left in regulation. Gibson was credited with a team-high seven shots on goal for the game.Monmouth nearly scored in the 78th minute when senior forward Rachelle Ross, with six goals on the season, hit the crossbar.It was the 11th shutout of the season for sophomore keeper Amanda Knaub, who stopped two shots. Monmouth held a 17-3 advantage in shots, and a 7-2 edge in shots on goal.The Hawks’ only loss in 10 MAAC games during the regular season came against Marist, a 2-1 home defeat on Oct. 11.Monmouth won the MAAC title to earn the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament in 2012has won the MAAC title. The championship game is set for Wednesday at noon, and will be available on ESPN3.Stephen Edelson: @steveedelsonAPP; [email protected] Continue Reading

New women’s soccer league has modest goals and is not another WUSA

The No. 1 draft pick of the metropolitan area's newest professional sports team drives to practice in a green Honda Civic with 104,000 miles on it. She lives at home in the house she grew up in in Montclair, N.J., to save money. When she made her pro debut last month, the moment played out before 2,735 fans on a converted baseball field in Bridgewater, N.J.You may view this all as thoroughly small-time stuff. Yael Averbuch views it entirely differently."I couldn't imagine being in a better situation than I am in right now," Averbuch says. "This is what I want my life to be."At age 22, Yael Averbuch (AV-er-bush) is an imposing and highly skilled 5-10 midfielder with long brown hair and shoulders that seem to span the width of Jersey. She is the youngest player on Sky Blue FC of the fledgling Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - the latest attempt to get a viable women's pro league started in the U.S. She comes to Sky Blue as a three-time All-American at North Carolina, the most fabled women's program in the sport, and doesn't harbor even a shred of resentment that she and fellow Tar Heel Tyler Hansbrough will not be sharing an income bracket for long.She's too busy being ecstatic.There is ample euphoria, and guarded optimism, going around WPS these days. Two months into its competitive existence, the league's seven franchises are averaging just under 5,400 fans per game - above its first-year projections, no small achievement given the current economic climate. Every Sunday night a WPS game is featured on the Fox Soccer Channel, and the league championship game - Aug. 22 - will be shown on Fox's regional sports networks.By forging strong community ties, keeping prices reasonable (the average WPS ticket is about $15) and avoiding the fiscal extravagances that did in its predecessor, the Women's United Soccer Association, league officials are convinced that the significant, and ever-increasing, pool of young female soccer players in this country can translate into a Continue Reading

U.S. women’s soccer team will miss Abby Wambach’s golden touch

No matter what  the U.S. women's soccer team accomplishes at the Summer Olympics, its success or failure will be defined by someone who won't play a minute in Beijing.Striker Abby Wambach, who scored the game-winner in the gold-medal match in Athens four years ago, will watch the games from her home in suburban Los Angeles. The Americans' chances of taking home a third gold medal in four tries took a hit when Wambach broke her left leg in a 1-0win over Brazil two weeks ago. Even with coach Pia Sundhage's new strategy of possession soccer, the attack revolved around Wambach. The Swedish coach, the first foreigner to direct the team, realized the U.S. faces a much greater challenge, although not an impossible one, even after losing two other regulars to knee injuries - defender Cat Whitehill and midfielder Leslie Osborne. "The U.S. can still win because this team is much more than one player or one coach," Sundhage said recently. "No one could replace Abby, though. We have to adjust our attacking a little bit. That's a challenge....Yes, we still can win the gold." The Americans certainly will miss the physical, 5-11 Wambach, who has scored 99 international goals and intimidates the opposition with her imposing play. "Going to the Olympics, the team has responded well," Sundhage said. "We have to move on. The team is strong. Everybody will step up a little bit." Among the young candidates to help fill the void are: Natasha Kai, whose 11 goals this year placed her second behind Wambach; Lindsay Tarpley (10 goals) and Amy Rodriguez - A-Rod to her teammates - a 21-year-old who led USC to the NCAA Division I crown last fall. The midfield features former New York Power star Shannon Boxx, promising Rutgers graduate Carli Lloyd and Heather O'Reilly. Kate Markgraf, Christie Rampone and Heather Mitts anchor a solid back line. Hope Solo, embroiled in a goalkeeping controversy with veteran Briana Scurry at last year's Women's World Cup, has re-established herself as No.1 in Continue Reading

UWM’s women’s soccer team one of two unbeaten teams in nation

And then there were two.UW-Milwaukee’s women’s soccer team is one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the nation. The Panthers are 12-0-3 and UCLA is 12-0-2.It would be understandable if the Panthers got caught up in their school-record unbeaten streak of 15 games. But that would be counter to their collective mindset and might affect the way they play, so they politely steer the conversation in another direction.“Honestly, that’s not even on my mind,” said senior midfielder Anna Smalley, who leads the team in scoring with eight goals and 21 points.“Obviously, we want to stay unbeaten but we have to focus on each game,” said redshirt senior goalie Mallory Geurts.That’s because as well as they’ve played the Panthers can’t afford to let down their guard. In a bit of a statistical oddity, while they are unbeaten overall they are third in the Horizon League at 4-0-2. IUPUI is 6-0 (13-2 overall) and Northern Kentucky is 5-0-1 (8-4-1).And it’s showdown time as UWM hosts IUPUI at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Engelmann Stadium. After that, only two regular-season games remain before the conference tournament.The Panthers’ success starts with defense. They’ve outscored their opponents, 33-4, and are ranked No. 2 in the nation in goals against average (0.255).Geurts is second nationally with 11 shutouts. She started the season with a shutout streak of 917:25 – the ninth-best mark in NCAA Division I history – before Marquette scored in the 86th minute in a 2-1 Panthers victory Sept. 17.“It’s not just the defense, it’s the entire group,” said coach Troy Fabiano. “One thing we stress is our first line of defense is our forwards. Trying to get forwards to buy into defense sometimes is not the easiest thing.”Said Smalley, “Troy does a good job of making you understand that if you don’t play defense, you’re not going to play.”Fabiano has Continue Reading

Drake women’s soccer shooting for NCAA spot to fulfill dream season

Drake women’s soccer is set up to complete its best season ever.Paced by the program’s all-time leading goal-scorer and riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, the Bulldogs enter the final week of their regular season in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference.And yet head coach Lindsey Horner’s squad knows the harsh reality of Division I soccer: The promise of 2017 will be unfulfilled unless Drake wins the conference tournament to secure an NCAA postseason spot.“Two years ago we won the league and didn’t win the tournament and it was a disappointing end,” Horner said. “You could look back and say, ‘That was a very successful season,’ but it didn’t feel like it.“Our players have put way more stock in the NCAA tournament than any win streak or getting the No. 1 seed in our own conference tournament. They want this.”The Bulldogs (11-3-2) have been impressing small Cownie Soccer Complex crowds and ESPN3 audiences all season, playing a possession-based style with a roster that blends in-state talent with former Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis area club standouts.Horner has six senior starters who have seen expectations and optimism rise during their time on Forest Avenue.“Even when it’s tied at halftime or heading to overtime, we’re finding ways to leave games on top,” said Rachel Wanninger, a senior midfielder and Johnston grad.“That comes from the mentality side of things. And that’s what our class decided on before we started the season. We just have to find a way to get it done.”Wanninger is one of four former Iowa high school players in Drake’s starting lineup for MVC games, along with defender Kasey Hurt from Ankeny, goalkeeper Haley Morris from Valley, and true freshman forward Hannah Bormann out of Clear Creek Amana. They’ve meshed with their Midwestern teammates while still working the offense through senior forward Rebecca Continue Reading