STANFORD, Calif. – The counting began sometime after the first goal. It continued into the second half … the double- and triple-checking, just to be sure.
Three goals in a 10-minute span bridging the first and second halves lifted No. 4 Stanford to a 4-0 victory over Loyola Marymount in a nonconference women’s soccer match on Friday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
But that feat is especially notable because there were six … count ‘em, six (we did, several times) … Stanford freshmen on the field for each of those goals.
Stephanie Amack and Megan Turner were among the four freshmen who came off the bench during the large-scale substitutions in the latter part of the first half. And each scored her first collegiate goal.
“It’s a great class,” said Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe, whose team improved to 3-0-1. “They’re young, they’re eager to learn the game, they’re hard workers. There were a lot of positives. We’re trying to teach them our style of play and they’re adapting quickly.”
Amack scored from close range in the 42nd minute after a deflection off a defender deep in the box. Shortly after fifth-year senior Courtney Verloo scored on a 25-yard free kick into the upper right corner, Turner converted Verloo’s cross into a first-touch score in the 52nd minute.
“It’s awesome,” Turner said of her first Stanford goal. “Coming in as a freshman with a new team, new players, new competition. It’s unbelievable. I can’t describe it.”
Taylor Uhl, a junior transfer from Minnesota, scored her first goal at Cagan Stadium in similar fashion, knocking in a cross from Sydney Payne to complete the scoring. It was her second goal of the season.
Freshman goalkeeper Jane Campbell received her first start and played nearly 65 minutes of flawless soccer, making two saves, before being relieved by sophomore Sarah Cox, making her first collegiate appearance. It was Stanford's second shutout of the season and came in a match in which it outshot LMU (3-2) by a 25-7 count.
Stanford (3-0-1) extended its home unbeaten streak to 69, the second-longest in NCAA Division I women's soccer history, though still 15 short of North Carolina's mark of 84 from 1986-94.
Stanford returns to action Sunday at noon against No. 16 Maryland at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium
Turner said the biggest adjustment she has had to make to collegiate soccer is the intensity and competitiveness in training. There are 28 players on the roster – including eight freshmen -- and all, if healthy, are competing for playing time.
But with only a month together, this seems a little early for such impressive contributions.
“It’s a great class,” Turner said. “It’ll be good if we make an impact. We haven’t had much time together, but we’re playing well, we’re getting our chemistry together. It just comes down to: You’re out there, you know how to do what you do, you’ve done it forever. Just go out there and play your game.”
They are … and it’s working.