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Top 10 Sports Moments of 2014

Stanford remains atop the college athletics world in 2014, winning the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup for the 20th consecutive year. Three student-athletes were named National Players of the Year in their respective sports, 11 head coaches earned Coach of the Year honors and 20 sports earned top-10 postseason finishes. Though this list is by no means exhaustive, as almost every one of the 36 varsity sports at Stanford experienced some noteworthy achievement, here are the Cardinal’s top 10 sports moments of 2014:

10. Stanford field hockey has its most successful season in program history.

The team won their first NCAA tournament game, finished the season with the most victories (19-3), longest win streak (12) and highest program ranking (No. 3).

9. Women’s volleyball upsets defending national champion Penn State in September, en route to a program-record 28 consecutive wins to start the season.

SPO.010915.top5wvb
(NATHAN STAFFA/The Stanford Daily)

After falling to the Nittany Lions in the regional final of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal were poised to exact their revenge on the nation’s top-ranked team and defending national champions. In a back-and-forth five-set match at Maples in September, Stanford did exactly that. Though Penn State would eventually end the Cardinal’s national title hopes in the Final Four, the early upset victory set the tone for what was a historic season.

8. Women’s basketball upsets No. 1 UConn in a come-from-behind win at Maples Pavilion.

(MIKE KHEIR/The Stanford Daily)
(MIKE KHEIR/The Stanford Daily)

With its November win over No. 1 UConn, Stanford ended the Huskies’ 47-game winning streak and avenged its 2014 Final Four loss to UConn, who went on to win its gazillionth (or so it seems) National Championship. The Cardinal were the clear underdogs in this game in terms of size, ranking and lack of star power.

7. Men’s soccer’s Austin Meyer’s goal in double overtime clinches the team’s first Pac-12 championship in 13 years.

After an impressive season for Stanford men’s soccer, didn’t it seem fitting that the destiny of the Pac-12 title would involve Stanford beating its Bay Area rival in the Big Derby? The Bears did not make it easy. The score was 2-2 as the game reached overtime, tensions were high and breath was held. Austin Meyer let us all exhale, slotting home a winner from near the penalty spot and sending the team into rapturous celebrations.

6. Women’s soccer defeats Florida on penalty kicks to advance to the College Cup for the sixth time in seven seasons.

Goalie Jane Campbell started and ended the shootout. The sophomore, who led Stanford to 17 shutouts over the course of the season, tied for the second-most in a single season in program history, held the Gators in the shootout and then netted the decisive goal, sending the Cardinal to the College Cup in Boca Raton, Fla.

5. Senior Cameron Wilson wins the individual NCAA golf title, only the third Stanford male golfer to do so.

Wilson had finished T-123rd in his only other NCAA championship, yet vaulted to the top of the individual leaderboard in 2014 after his sizzling 7-under 63 in the second round. That performance put him in position to battle in a playoff, which he won with a birdie on the third hole of sudden death.

4. Stanford played in the 100th Rose Bowl against Michigan State, its fourth consecutive BCS bowl

SPO.010915.top5fb
(BEN SULITEANU/The Stanford Daily)

After an 11-2 regular season that included an upset of Oregon at Stanford Stadium and a second straight Pac-12 championship, Stanford clinched a berth in the 100th Rose Bowl. Though the Cardinal were outplayed in the game itself, the week wasn’t devoid of ceremony and pageantry in a grand celebration of the history of “The Granddaddy of Them All.”

3. Walk-off magic powers baseball to a super regional berth, a win at Vanderbilt

Baseball Celebration
(Courtesy of BRETT MOORE/Stanford Athletics)

Though it was uncertain whether Stanford would even earn a berth in the postseason toward the end of the regular season, the team was ticketed to Indiana for the regional and went on to make a deep run in the tournament. Freshman Tommy Edman’s walk-off homer in the final game of the Indiana regional sent the Cardinal to Vanderbilt for a super regional, and Wayne Taylor’s walk-off homer clinched a victory in Game 2 in Nashville.

2. Men’s basketball reaches the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, defeating No. 2 seeded Kansas in the process.

No. 10 seeded Stanford shocked the country by taking down the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Andrew Wiggins, and No. 2 seeded Kansas in the third round of March Madness. The 1-3-1 Cardinal defense held Wiggins to just four points in the game, as the team advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008 before falling to the Dayton Flyers.

1. Women’s water polo wins the fourth national title in program history.

Stone, Gabby
(HECTOR GARCIA-MOLINA/stanfordphoto.com)

In a long-awaited national championship matchup between the No. 1 Cardinal and the No. 2 UCLA Bruins, Stanford avenged its only loss of the season, earning a 9-5 victory and clinching its third national title in four years. The win also extended Stanford’s record of winning at least one NCAA title to 38 consecutive years, dating back to the 1976-77 academic year.

Contact Jordan Wallach at jwallach ‘at’ stanford.edu, and Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

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