STANFORD, Calif.- Sophie Bowden’s unassisted goal in double overtime lifted No. 4 Connecticut to a 2-1 victory over No. 12 Stanford on Saturday afternoon in the season opener for both teams at the Varsity Turf.
Less than 10 minutes away from participating in its first shootout since 2008, Stanford (0-1, 0-0 NorPac) rebounded from a slow start and controlled the flow of play after halftime and well through into the first overtime period. Instead, Connecticut (1-0, 0-0 Big East) eventually capitalized on Stanford’s short-handed lineup, finding the cage in only its third attempt after intermission.
Seeking its first victory over a top-5 opponent since a 2-1 upset of No. 3 Michigan State exactly 12 years ago, Stanford was on the defensive early on. Anne Jeute scored on Connecticut’s first shot attempt of the game, tipping in a rebound from Roisin Upton following a penalty corner for a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies followed with three more attempts before Fran Tew registered Stanford’s first shot of the game in the 24th minute.
Stanford came alive after halftime, outscoring Connecticut 9-2 during the second half and 15-7 overall. Gaining momentum offensively, the Cardinal was able to work its way back into the game via the penalty corner, producing four over the next 35 minutes while the Huskies were held without an attempt.
The aggressive play finally paid off in the 67th minute, when Jessica Chisholm gathered a quick cross from Kelsey Harbin and fired a rocket into the Connecticut cage. Just like that, a 1-1 game offered Stanford new life and a chance to cash in on its much-improved play.
Stanford continued to press in the first overtime, with Alex McCawley and Hope Burke accounting for the only two shots of the period. Both players had very good chances to break the tie, but Connecticut keeper Sarah Mansfield responded with two of her seven saves.
Bowden tacked home the deciding goal at the 89:43 mark, with Connecticut holding an advantage after three Stanford players were issued cards during a stretch at the beginning of the period.
Burke led the Cardinal with three shots while Chisholm added two. The Cardinal held a 5-2 edge in penalty corners.
Stanford is back in action on Monday, Sept. 2, hosting Michigan State at 3 p.m. in game televised live on Pac-12 Network.
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NOTES: Facing the nation’s elite programs is nothing new for Stanford, a top-25 fixture that played four games against the nation’s No. 1-ranked team at the time in 2012 … Saturday’s game was televised live on Pac-12 Network, the first of five appearances this season … Stanford was looking for its first overtime victory since Aug. 27, 2011, a 4-3 win over Hofstra … Freshmen Kristina Bassi, Casey Deeds and Fran Tew made their debuts … Jessica Chisholm scored the fourth goal of her career … Dulcie Davies finished with three saves … The Cardinal has been ranked in the national poll for all but one week during head coach Tara Danielson’s tenure … Sophie Bowden also tapped home the game-winner in Connecticut’s 1-0 win over Stanford last October when the teams matched up in Storrs, Ct. She has two career goals … Connecticut has lost only six games combined over the last two years.