STANFORD, Calif. – For perhaps the first time this season, the full scope of Stanford women’s soccer was on display Sunday in the Cardinal’s 3-0 victory over No. 16 Maryland at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
Players and coaches note that it takes time to develop as a unit and Stanford, with nine newcomers, has needed every minute. But as the combinations developed and the scoring chances multiplied and the defensive solidified, the potential finally could be seen.
Taylor Uhl headed in two goals and freshman Ryan Walker-Hartshorn scored in her first collegiate start at forward to lead No. 4 Stanford. The Cardinal (4-0-1) extended its home unbeaten streak to 70 – the second-longest in NCAA Division I history – while earning its third shutout of the season.
“It’s really coming together,” said Uhl, a junior transfer who had three goals this weekend. “It finally showed on the field today. We could have easily had five or six goals.”
That was true. Excellent goalkeeping by Maryland’s Rachel Beanlands, combined with a stubborn post, saves off the line, and narrow misses prevented the Cardinal from even greater results.
“Can you imagine how good we’re going to be when we start finishing those?” Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said.
Both of Uhl’s goals were scored off Courtney Verloo’s corner kicks. The first came in the 10th minute as Alex Doll and Stephanie Amack kept the ball alive inside the penalty area. The other came on a powerful header, directly off Verloo’s corner in the 89th minute. Three of Uhl’s team-high four goals have come in the air.
Walker-Hartshorn, a native of Oakland, scored from close range in the 57th minute, after outside back Natalie Griffen fired a ball into the goalmouth. Walker-Hartshorn took a half-volley with her right foot knock it through.
Walker-Hartshorn is another example of a player finding her niche. The former star at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School started the opener at outside back, but had sparked the team at forward in the past two matches to earn the start.
Maddie Bauer, one of four freshmen in the starting lineup, excelled in central defense and stifled Maryland scoring star Hayley Brock, who was held to two shots for the Terrapins (4-2).
Time-consuming possession soccer, a strong buildup, and strength in the air all have been characteristic of Stanford’s style of play, and so has brilliant goalkeeping.
Freshman Jane Campbell highlighted her first collegiate shutout with a full extension save midway through the first half. While diving to her right, Campbell caught a 25th-minute scorcher from Brock with two hands midway through the first half. She has yet to allow a goal in three appearances, covering 214 minutes.
“In training, Jane sometimes makes saves where I have to take a second look and I’m in shock,” Ratcliffe said. “Did that just happen? To say she’s a freshman … Give her a couple of years. She’s going to be incredible.”
Uhl’s big weekend came with her parents, David and JoEllen of Eden Prairie, Minn., in attendance. Her success cannot be measured on a personal level, but in concert with the entire team – one that grows together before our eyes.
“Chemistry just takes time,” Uhl said. “It’s finally coming together.”