Aug. 21, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford women's soccer team has seen the future, and it looks pretty good with Chioma Ubogagu wearing cardinal red the next four years.
The freshman forward from Coppell, Texas, scored her first two collegiate goals and split open the Pacific defense with a series of one-touch combination passes inside the box to lead Stanford to a 5-2 victory over the Tigers in a nonconference match Sunday afternoon at Cagan Stadium.
Ubogagu and senior Camille Levin each had two goals and an assist for No. 2 Stanford (2-0), which fell behind in the fifth minute, but grabbed the lead by the 13th.
Lindsay Taylor also scored for Stanford, on a far-post full volley off Levin's second-half cross from the end line.
"Chi is a great talent, and she had a breakout performance this weekend," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffesaid. "We're just getting an idea of what she's capable of."
Ubogagu, who also had an assist in a 4-0 victory over Penn State on Friday, believes she's just doing what's asked.
"When Paul recruited me, he wanted me to score goals," she said. "I've been really comfortable here from Day One. Everybody's been super nice and super helpful and has made sure I knew what was going on."
The combination plays led directly to a tying goal by Levin in the 11th minute and created other opportunities for teammates inside the box.
"On my club team (D'Feeters of Dallas), that's how we play," she said. "My high school team too, to put the ball on the ground and not launch it every time. Paul wants it to be clockwork. We've worked on a lot of different patterns."
Stanford seniors Levin, Taylor, and Teresa Noyola have learned to play off Ubogagu well, despite being together for only 2½ weeks.
"That's my strength," Ubogagu said. "I just like combining with people, just working off the ball even if I'm not getting it back. Just working with the team."
Pacific caught Stanford by surprise in the fifth minute when Kristina Wavomba whiffed on a shot at the top of the box, and then recovered and struck with her left foot inside the far post. The goal ended Stanford's streak of consecutive first-half shutouts at 20, lasting 916 minutes, 39 seconds.
However, Stanford countered quickly when Levin took a wall pass from Ubogagu and scored from the top of the box in the 11th minute. Moments later, Ubogagu put the Cardinal ahead for good when Taylor sprung her in the box, and the freshman beat a defender and scored from close range.
Ubogagu made it 3-1 with 10 seconds left in the first half when Noyola kept possession during a scramble after a long free kick near midfield by Alina Garciamendez, and delivered a short pass that Ubogagu converted.
"She's a very sophisticated player," Ratcliffe said of his freshman. "She has the ability to beat you with wall passes, individually 1 v. 1, and she's very creative."
Following Taylor's goal, Pacific (1-1) drew within 4-2 in the 62nd minute, but Levin put the match away by slicing through the box and several defenders before pounding the ball inside the far post in the 82nd. Levin leads the team with eight points, on two goals and four assists.
Stanford outshot the Tigers, 34-4, and forced goalkeeper Tashia Long into 13 saves while earning its 37th consecutive home victory. The Cardinal resumes play Friday at No. 6 Maryland and Sunday at No. 23 Georgetown.
"I was impressed with the character of the team to go down early and score five goals," Ratcliffe said. "I was disappointed we conceded two goals on four shots, but overall it was a great weekend. We've just got to keep learning and improving."
-- David Kiefer, Stanford Athletics