Oct. 21, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford wanted to get out to a fast start on Friday night, and thanks to Lindsay Taylor, it did.
Taylor scored 3:36 into the match and finished with two goals to help keep No. 1 Stanford undefeated with a 4-0 victory over Utah in a Pac-12 Conference women's soccer match before 1,382 at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
Taylor, a senior captain, scored her conference-leading 11th and 12th goals of the season, and teammate Chioma Ubogagu had a goal and two assists for Stanford (15-0-1 overall, 7-0 Pac-12). Nina Watkins finished off the scoring in the 66th minute with her first of the season.
"I thought it was great energy tonight," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "It was a fantastic team effort and we scored some excellent goals."
Taylor first took a pass from Teresa Noyola, who provided her 10th assist, on a 2-on-1 break with only the goalkeeper to beat. Kendall Romine started the sequence from the back and found Ubogagu, who threaded the ball through the defense to spring Noyola.
Ubogagu made it 2-0 in the 16th minute when she took a chip over the defense by Mariah Nogueira, chested it down and drove a left-footed half-volley inside the far post. It was another in a string of spectacular goals for Ubogagu, and her eighth of the season, matching the freshman total of Stanford's all-time leading scorer, Christen Press, from 2007.
"We were trying to go out quickly and get a goal early, and play the best soccer that we could," said Taylor, who is closing in on her season-best of 16 goals, from her freshman year. "We really did a good job of recognizing what was on, playing to our strengths and getting crosses in and getting goals."
Stanford (21 points in the Pac-12) earned its 11th shutout of the season while extending its lead in the Pac-12 to six points over Oregon State (5-2, 15), which beat Washington State, 2-1, to overtake the Cougars and move into sole possession of second place.
Stanford also captured its 44th consecutive home victory and extended its conference winning streak to 27. Stanford also earned its 11th shutout of the season, and prevented Utah (8-7-1, 4-3) from getting off a single shot in the second half.
Stanford substituted often, which gave San Francisco native Watkins a chance to shine. Playing a defensive midfield role, Watkins became the 14th player to score for Stanford this season when she buried a close-range shot after Marjani Hing-Glover failed to get all of a shot of her own. As the ball rolled to toward the goal, Watkins pounced on the opportunity.
"When we go in off the bench, we want to keep the level as high as it was, and make it even higher," Watkins said. "We're all working so hard, so, coming in, you want to keep up that energy and you don't want to let your teammates down."
Stanford, which used 22 players in all, looked every bit the No. 1 team in the country in outshooting the Utes, 23-3, and extending its regular-season unbeaten streak to 58.
The questions of who would take over the scoring vacuum left by Press have been answered: Taylor mostly, with help from everybody else.
"Lindsay Taylor's having an amazing senior year," Ratcliffe said. " She's scoring big goals and she's working very hard. I'm really proud of what she's done and what we've done as a team."
-- David Kiefer, Stanford Athletics