Stanford to play Irish for soccer title

Updated: December 4, 2010, 12:47 AM ET
Associated Press

CARY, N.C. -- Camille Levin's versatility paid off in a big way for Stanford on Friday night.

Levin scored in the 48th minute and Stanford beat Boston College 2-0 to advance to the NCAA Women's College Cup final.

The Cardinal (23-0-2), which reached the championship game for the second year in a row, next plays Notre Dame on Sunday. The Fighting Irish (20-2-2) beat Ohio State 1-0 in the other semifinal.

Levin, who excels as a forward, midfielder and defender, made herself at home in the center midfield spot against the Eagles.

"Wherever I'm needed on the field, I know it's best for the team," Levin said. "So I don't mind at all."

Levin picked up her second goal of the season and Lindsay Taylor scored in the 87th minute for Stanford, which extended its winning streak to 22 games.

Boston College (17-7-1) went without a shot in the first half for the first time all season in its first appearance in the national semifinals.

Notre Dame moved on behind Mandy Laddish, who scored her second goal of the season in the 83rd minute. It will be the fourth appearance in the championship in the seven years for the Fighting Irish.

"It's almost just like a blur to me," Laddish said. "I remember the shot on goal, and I was just in shock that I actually scored and was helping us win."

Katie Baumgardner made a career-high 10 saves, many of them acrobatic, for the Buckeyes (17-5-2).

"It was exhausting," Baumgardner said.

[+] EnlargeMandy Laddish
AP Photo/Sara D. DavisFreshman Mandy Laddish knocked in the game winner in the 83rd minute.

Laddish broke through with a long run down the middle of the field. Outracing pursuit, she drilled a left-footed shot from the top of the box into the upper left-hand corner of the net.

The Fighting Irish threatened the Buckeyes with similar runs throughout the second half, nearly scoring on two other occasions after Laddish's goal.

"I know what our Achilles' heel is, and they found it," Ohio State coach Lori Walker said. "Penetrating on the dribble through the midfield was the one thing that if they did that, we didn't have an answer."

Ohio State's best opportunity came in the 89th minute. Paige Maxwell lofted a shot that got past Notre Dame goalkeeper Nikki Weiss, but the ball bounced off the left post.

"I guess it was our turn to get robbed," Maxwell said. "They got robbed a few times. The soccer gods were not in our favor on that one. I just put everything I had, all my being, through that ball."

The Fighting Irish dominated possession throughout, particularly in the second half. They outshot the Buckeyes 15-3 in the half, getting turned away time after time by Baumgardner.

Notre Dame put together a flurry midway through the period. Melissa Henderson rocketed a shot from inside the box that Baumgardner saved, but Henderson threatened again just 10 seconds later.

Henderson hit a left-footed shot from straight on that Baumgardner dived to her right to knock away just before the ball found the bottom corner of the net.

Notre Dame's Rose Augustin generated the best scoring opportunity in the first half. Augustin's blast from the left wing just outside the box in the 24th minute hit the far post near the top of the goal, and the Buckeyes cleared the loose ball.

Augustin also had a header in the seventh minute that Baumgardner saved.

In the other semifinal, Levin took a feed from Christen Press in the midfield and accelerated into open space. She hit a right-footed shot from the top of the box into the upper right corner, far out of the reach of goalkeeper Jillian Mastroianni.

"Wherever we need her in a given game, she's willing to go in there and make a big difference," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "That adjustment, I think, really changed the game. When we put Cammy in at center mid, it really opened things up for us because she was winning so many balls and breaking through."

Taylor's goal came after she stole a pass from Mastroianni, dribbled toward the net and sent a hard grounder into the bottom left corner.

Boston College's best scoring chance came in the 76th minute, when Kristen Mewis sent a header toward the right side of the goal. Stanford goalkeeper Emily Oliver dove to her left to make the save, and Hannah Cerrone's rebound shot from close range sailed over the crossbar.

"It was kind of a hard angle," Mewis said. "I think [Cerrone] did a great job getting there."

Cerrone previously had an opportunity in the 60th minute, but her line drive shot from the right wing landed in Oliver's waiting arms.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press