STANFORD, Calif. – An offensive outburst and strong defense propelled No. 12 Stanford to a 4-1 victory against Liberty Sunday at the Varsity Turf.
The Cardinal (1-1, 0-0 NorPac West) continued its hot start to the 2014 season, picking up a convincing victory against the Lady Flames (1-1, 1-0 NorPac East). Stanford controlled possession a majority of the game and held advantages in shots (21-4) and penalty corners (8-1). Alex McCawley scored twice, while Lauren Becker and Maddie Secco added a goal apiece.
Stanford’s defense continued to shut down the opposition by forcing the attack out wide and limiting opportunities in front of the goal. Dulcie Davies made three saves in goal and Kelsey Harbin provided leadership and aggressiveness on the backline.
McCawley gave the Cardinal an early lead when she unleashed a hard shot from the center of the semicircle to the bottom left side of the cage. McCawley finished the weekend with three goals and an assist in two games.
Despite being peppered with 21 shots, Liberty goalkeeper Mallory Cuccio did well to keep the Lady Flames in the game with 14 saves.
The Cardinal solved Cuccio and the Liberty defense again in the 16th minute when Lauren Becker hammered home her third goal of the year. Stationed on the left side of the goal, Becker received a pass from Clemence Couteau who was on the right side of the semicircle, took a touch to control the ball, and then fired it into the bottom right corner of the cage.
Stanford continued to maintain a majority of the possession in the half and carried momentum into halftime.
Liberty would not go down easy, however, and opened the second half with added energy. The extra effort earned the Lady Flames a goal to cut Stanford’s lead to 2-1.
After a timeout by Cardinal head coach Tara Danielson, Secco scored her second goal of the year, capitalizing on a rebound opportunity at 51:59 to put Stanford up 3-1.
Alex McCawley secured the victory with her second score on the day in the final minute of regulation. Fran Tew delivered a hard pass from the left side of the goal to McCawley who was able to get her stick on the ball and direct it into the cage.
Stanford heads to Durham, N.H., next week for three games beginning Thursday at 2 p.m. (PT) against Maine. The Cardinal takes on Boston University on Friday at 4 p.m. and concludes its trip Sunday at 9 a.m. against New Hampshire.
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Notes: It is the second consecutive game Stanford has scored four goals … Nine Cardinal players combined for 21 shots and 18 players made appearances … Stanford’s 21 shots is the most since Oct. 11, 2013, when the Cardinal registered 23 against U.C. Davis … Stanford Freshman Marissa Cicione made her collegiate debut … The Cardinal has scored four goals in both the first and second halves ... Stanford holds advantages over opponents in shots (32-13) and penalty corners (13-8).