CORVALLIS, Ore. – Stanford scored three goals in the first 23 minutes on the way to a 4-1 Pac-12 Conference women’s soccer victory over Oregon State on Sunday.
Four different players scored for No. 8 Stanford (12-3-1, 5-3), which extended its winning streak to three since a rare three-loss streak. The two-match weekend sweep began with a 2-1 victory at Oregon on Friday.
A header by Lo’eau LaBonta opened the scoring in the eighth minute, followed by goals from Sydney Payne (11th) and Alex Doll (23rd). After Oregon State (5-10-2, 3-4-1) drew within 3-1, Chioma Ubogagu closed the scoring in the 90th minute.
“This team is playing to its strengths and getting better with each game,” Ratcliffe said. “We had a rough patch, but we came through it a much stronger team.”
What may have been the most pleasing aspect of the game for Ratcliffe was the way Stanford controlled the ball. It was one of Stanford’s best possession games of the season and definitely its best in Pac-12 play.
“I was impressed with how we played, especially coming in the second game of the weekend,” Ratcliffe said. “It was nice that we appear to be peaking at the right time.”
Stanford has not always played with high energy at the start, and that’s been a point of emphasis in recent weeks. However, that was not a problem on Sunday with its three-goal flurry in a 15-minute span of the first half.
LaBonta’s goal came after the second of back-to-back corner kicks that unfolded in almost the same way. Courtney Verloo’s corner was headed away, but Laura Liedle sent the ball back into the box to LaBonta. On the first sequence, LaBonta’s shot was saved. This time, she redirected the ball past Beaver goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme.
Payne’s goal was opportunistic. Ubogagu took a hard shot that bounced off Prudhomme’s hands and into the path of the onrushing Payne, who headed it in while colliding with the goalkeeper.
The third goal came off Ubogagu’s left-footed free kick from 22 yards. The shot bounced off the post and Doll got there first, slotting a half-volley into the net from close range. Ubogagu scored her goal when Ryan Walker-Hartshorn supplied a centering pass from the left and the junior buried it with her left foot.
Prudhomme made two outstanding saves, including a leaping tip over the bar when Verloo sent a surprise shot from the center circle on the second half kickoff.
Stanford continues its four-match road stretch with matches at Washington on Thursday and Washington State on Sunday. Both will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.