Stanford sports roundup

The season is still young, but Stanford looks dominant thus far. Thing is, "football" isn't the only word that could come after "Stanford" in the sentence above. Here, then, is a rundown of all the latest from Stanford's fall teams.

Housekeeping: Have to draw the line somewhere, so we're looking at Directors' Cup sports only. (Sorry, sailing.) We're also looking at in-season sports only, so while tennis or softball have some fall events, they're going to have to wait until spring for their moment in the sun. Finally, we hope this becomes a regular feature here on The Bootleg. We provide better Olympic sport coverage than just about any recruiting site, highlighted by our annual honor roll, but hopefully this can become a more systemic way to track and acknowledge one of the many aspects unique to Stanford life – its unmatched excellence in 35 varsity sports.

Men's cross country - The No. 4 men placed a respectable third at the deep Madison Invitational, with only No. 3 BYU and host and No. 2 Wisconsin beating out the Card. Chris Derrick and Jacob Riley each finished in the top-ten overall against a stacked field. However, the real season's just starting now. Pac-12 Championships are October 29, NCAA Regional Championships are November 11, and the NCAA Finals are November 21, again in Terre Haute, Indiana. No. 6 Colorado could challenge in the Pac-12 Championships and No. 8 Portland could challenge in the West Regional, but for all those teams, Stanford included, the season will boil down to November 21.

Women's cross country - Under rookie head coach Patti Sue Plumer, the women are No. 8 overall. They have the same upcoming schedule as the men, but the conference and regional meets will be deeper, as No. 2 Washington, No. 5 Arizona, No. 10 California, No. 11 Oregon and No. 16 Colorado combine to make the Pac-12 far and away the deepest cross-country conference on the women's side. The women took fifth at the Madison Invitational, with junior Kathy Kroeger tenth overall. The No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 runners on the squad are each freshmen, so the squad could factor heavily into the national title race in the next few years.

Field hockey - The squad's quietly becoming a Cinderella story, as the West Coast women are 12-2 overall, 5-0 in conference and No. 9 in the country in a sport traditionally dominated by right- coast powers. The two losses were respectable, coming at then-No. 4 Connecticut and then-No. 12 New Hampshire, while Stanford has five wins against top-20 teams – including two against Cal. Stanford just clinched the NorPac's West Division title (don't ask) and hopes this can be the year when, with a strong performance in the 16-team NCAA Tournament, they prove that they've arrived for good.

Women's soccer - This squad is our best bet to bring home No. 102 in a few months. They're No. 1 in the country at 14-0-1, including a 5-0-1 mark against ranked opponents. In those 15 games, teams have managed all of six goals against the Cardinal. On offense, Lindsay Taylor's 10 goals pace the squad. The Cardinal will whip through the rest of their Pac-12 schedule over the next few weeks before starting their playoff run on November 11. This year's Final Four is in metro Atlanta (Kennesaw) the weekend of December 2. Book your tickets.

Men's soccer - The men, meanwhile, probably won't be bringing home No. 102 anytime soon, as they are 4-7-2 overall. At least the team managed to snap a four-game winless streak with a 3- 2 victory over Oregon State Sunday. Even if the postseason is out of reach, pride certainly isn't: Stanford and Cal tied 1-1 on October 9, and the season-ending rubber match will be November 11 in Berkeley.

Women's volleyball - The good news is the women are No. 5 in the country heading into this weekend's matches with the Arizona schools. The better news is that the women just knocked off then- No. 2 Washington in straight sets on Saturday. The bad news is that the team is 0-3 against USC, UCLA, and California. Outside hitter Rachel Williams is off to a strong sophomore season, leading the team with 4.6 kills per game, and placing second on the squad with 3.1 digs per game.

Men's water polo - Here, the good news is the team is 9-3 overall, and was No. 1 in the country last week. The bad news is that, as with the volleyballers, the losses have come to USC, Cal and, last weekend, UCLA, so that No. 1 ranking will probably be short-lived when the new poll comes out midweek. MPSF playoffs start November 25, with matches against USC and Cal the only real tests until then.

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