Sept. 15, 2011
PORTLAND, Ore. - Goals are beautiful things, especially the 22-yard strike that Kristy Zurmuhlen blasted into the net to ice Stanford's 2-0 victory over Portland on Thursday night.
But Stanford women's soccer has different dimensions of beauty. There are the goals of course, but there is also the possession. That's what Cardinal soccer is all about - controlling play, being patient, setting the tempo, and taking the opponent out of its rhythm.
Stanford (7-0-1) did all those things to Portland, plus striking at the right times to quiet the boisterous crowd of 3,410 at Merlo Field. Teresa Noyola provided the spark with a goal and an assist.
Noyola's first-half penalty kick and Zurmuhlen's second-half strike were enough for Stanford to earn its first victory at Portland (3-4-1) in three tries and extend the Cardinal's regular-season unbeaten streak to 50 matches.
"The team had a strong performance, especially in possession," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "I would have liked to have seen them execute better in the final third, but the possession was exceptional."
Noyola opened the scoring in the 40th minute when she converted a penalty kick after being pulled down in the box, for her fifth goal of the season.
Her pass to the right in the 75th minute found Zurmuhlen in stride and the senior unleashed a right-footed blast into the upper left corner for her first goal since her freshman season.
The Cardinal was unable to convert several good chances down the stretch. Freshman Chioma Ubogagu had two of them, including a late try in which a long ball from central defender Alina Garciamendez split the defense and caught Ubogagu in stride. But shooting perhaps a step too early with no one to beat but the goalkeeper, Ubogagu played the ball just wide.
However, Stanford maintained control of the match until the final whistle.
Stanford next plays at No. 19 Santa Clara (3-0-4) on Sunday night at 8.