Oct. 28, 2011
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Phase I of Stanford's season goals has been achieved - the Cardinal clinched its third consecutive Pac-12 women's soccer championship by rallying to a 2-1 victory over Oregon State in the rain on Friday night.
Next up, a run at Phase II: A national championship.
Lindsay Taylor scored two second-half goals to rally No. 1 Stanford, after the Cardinal fell behind for only the second time this season.
A fourth-minute goal by Oregon State's Jenna Richardson pushed the Cardinal down for the first time since Notre Dame took a lead on Sept. 9. But Stanford came back on the strength of scores in the 55th and 66th minutes by Taylor, the Pac-12's leading scorer.
"The team showed tremendous character," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said.
"The team's very excited about winning the conference title," he said. "But we've still got two remaining games and we've got to finish strong and prepare well for the playoffs."
The victory ensured an eighth Pac-12 title for Stanford (17-0-1 overall, 9-0 Pac-12), which has matches remaining at Oregon on Sunday and against visiting Cal on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Both of Taylor's goals were created by buildups from the back. Each was shot from the top of the penalty area and curved into the upper corner. Even before the goals, the tide of the match had shifted to Stanford's favor and a goal seemed almost inevitable.
"As the game moved on, we were getting stronger and stronger," Ratcliffe said. "But it took us a long time to break them down."
No. 19 Oregon State (12-5-1, 6-3) entered the match in second place and, for the second consecutive season, had to endure the Cardinal clincher at its own expense.
It the third consecutive two-goal performance for Taylor, who scored her 15th and 16th goals of the year, matching her single-season high, set during her first-team All-America season of 2008.
Taylor has scored eight goals in her past five matches and pulled into a tie with Marcia Wallis (1999-2002) and Erin Martin (1993-96) for fifth on Stanford's career goals list, with 49.
"L.T. is in great form," Ratcliffe said. "She's getting better and better as the season goes on."
Oregon State promised to be Stanford's toughest road test to date and proved to be in a somewhat physical match that included two Beaver yellow cards. Stanford, which outshot the Beavers, 23-9, has now beaten Oregon State 18 times in 19 meetings.
Stanford extended its regular-season unbeaten streak to 60 and its conference winning streak to 29 and draws closer to completing its third consecutive unbeaten regular season.