One Goal Shy

Defending champions fall just short in their bid to repeat.

January/February 2013

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There's no "Wait until next year" for eight departing seniors on the women's soccer team, which lost its bid for the NCAA championship on December 1 in a 1-0 double overtime defeat to North Carolina in the College Cup semifinals. After the game, they had to settle for "Remember last year."

"This entire senior class, when you look at their overall record through their four years, it's pretty remarkable," said coach Paul Ratcliffe. "I'm really thankful that they won the championship last year because they're definitely champions. No doubt in my mind."

Over the past four seasons, the squad went 94-4-4, breaking through to win the national title with a 1-0 victory over Duke in 2011. The previous two seasons culminated in 1-0 losses in games played for the championship.

The double OT finish against North Carolina concluded the college careers of captains Alina Garciamendez and Rachel Quon, defenders whose seasons earned them first-team All-America honors, and midfielder Mariah Nogueira. North Carolina's Kealia Ohai settled the game by scoring with a shot off the post after 104 minutes and eight seconds of competition.

"You have to give credit to North Carolina," said forward Courtney Verloo, a redshirt junior and Stanford's top scorer. "They came out strong and high-pressure. I think we battled back just as strong and gave everything that we had."

North Carolina, which went on to beat Penn State 4-1 for the NCAA crown, has never lost to the Cardinal, which is 0-9-3 against the Tar Heels, including the 2009 championship match loss.

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