No. 10 Stanford (13-5-1 overall, 6-5 Pac-12) hit the woodwork four times and outshot the Golden Bears, 27-11. However, Cal (11-4-5, 4-4-3) found an opening on a counterattack and Rachel Mercik took advantage by heading in the winner at 98:08.
"We’ve got to finish our chances," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "We got one of our highest shot totals of the whole year, and the team played great soccer. But we’ve got to execute. We’ve got to get a goal. We didn’t do that, and that’s when soccer can bite you."
It's hard to believe that Stanford now has lost four of its past five matches at home. Before that, it had been 2007. However, the Cardinal did put on a spirited performance that wasn't indicative in the final score.
Maddie Bauer, a season-long freshman starter in central defense, was solid once again in controlling the flow of the Stanford offense and playing sound mistake-free soccer.
"For a freshman, she’s the best one I’ve seen all year," Ratcliffe said. "She’s putting in unbelievable performances. Tonight, once again, she’s so solid, against a strong Cal team. She looked like a senior.
"Good decision-making, composed, leader. She’s done so much for our team and I’m excited about the next few years with her."
Stanford is expected to receive an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament and could play host to a first-round match on Friday, Nov. 15. The 64-team tournament field will be announced Monday at 1:30 p.m. on ncaa.com.
"Hopefully, we can bounce back and approach the playoffs with a hunger," Ratcliffe said.
It might be good for this squad. That’s what they need, I think. It’s a younger team that needs some challenges to grow."