Sept. 13, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Stanford struck for two second-half goals within a span of three minutes to beat No. 5 Notre Dame 2-0 on Sunday in a rematch of last year's NCAA College Cup women's soccer semifinal.
Mariah Nogueira scored her first collegiate goal on a 56th minute header to break a scoreless tie and Christen Press followed by knocking in a deflected shot for the No. 3 Cardinal (7-0) in the Santa Clara Classic match at Buck Shaw Stadium.
"You do hold on to the previous year and that was such a disappointing loss," Riley said. "But at the same time, this is a new year and we want to say we're better than last year. Now, we know we can beat teams we couldn't beat before."
Stanford continued its late-game domination, having scored 19 of its 23 goals this season in the second half. That's no accident.
"We're wearing teams down because of our possession style," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "We're playing really attractive, effective soccer, moving the ball and the other teams are wearing down. Things are opening up for us. That's why we're scoring a ton of goals in the second half. That's how soccer should be played."
Indeed, both goals were set up when Stanford was able to open up space. On the first goal, Press drew a foul to the right of the box and Nogueira charged toward the near post to redirect Teresa Noyola's free kick.
On the next, Kelley O'Hara's shot hard shot from the left angle deflected off a defender and Press first-timed a shot from close range for her sixth goal this season. For O'Hara, it marked the sixth match that she has had a goal or assist and now has a team-leading 19 points (8 goals, 3 assists).
Nogueira, a freshman from Westminster, Calif., has been especially effective, playing a defensive midfield spot and moving forward on set pieces.
"Mariah's one of the best headers of the ball I've seen in college soccer," Ratcliffe said. "She's phenomenal in the air."
Notre Dame (3-3), however, pushed hard and had two great chances in the final 10 minutes, but each was stymied.
First, a wide-open Melissa Campbell chested down a cross in the box when Riley bolted from the side to steal the ball as Campbell was preparing to shoot. Next, Campbell's hard breakaway shot was blocked by goalkeeper Kira Maker, who sprinted to edge of the box to make the play.
Earlier, Jenkins had slid in to deflect a threatening Notre Dame shot, helping the Cardinal post its third shutout in four matches.
Right back Rachel Quon twice created first-half chances on overlapping runs, one to the end line and the other by cutting inside. However, Stanford's best scoring opportunity came when Kristin Stannard beat two defenders to a ball played by Courtney Verloo and nudged it to Morgan Redman, whose hard shot was just high.
Ratcliffe felt this was team's best performance, and was pleased it came against Notre Dame.
"Obviously, that's in the back of your mind," he said. "But for me, we just want to play great soccer and we want to win every game we can. The team played very attractive and effective soccer, created a lot of good chances, and got two great goals - two fantastic goals."
Said Riley, "To win this game, felt so good. We gave everything, and we played the best against the best opponent we've played."
Santa Clara won the tournament title on goal differential over Stanford, 4-3. But the Cardinal had three players named to the all-tournament team: Jenkins, Nogueira and O'Hara.
Stanford returns home for the four-team Stanford Nike Classic, to be played Friday and Sunday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. The event features doubleheaders on each day, with Stanford playing the late games, Friday against No. 20 Colorado (7 p.m.) and Sunday against Wisconsin (1:30 p.m.). Santa Clara plays the early matches, at 4:30 p.m. and 11 a.m., respectively.