Sept. 27, 2010
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- One day after giving No. 1 North Carolina its toughest test of the season during a 2-1 loss, No. 18 Stanford regrouped for a 4-2 upset of No. 8 Wake Forest to earn an impressive split of a challenging road swing.
This weekend figured to be Stanford's most grueling portion of the schedule, as North Carolina and Wake Forest have combined to win five of the last eight national championships.
But after Wake Forest scored twice in the first nine minutes of Monday's game, Stanford responded with four unanswered goals.
Much like its effort earlier this month in a 3-2 loss against then-No. 7 Michigan State, Stanford (6-3, 2-1 NorPac) controlled tempo and owned advantages in both shot attempts and penalty corners. Against the Demon Deacons (6-4, 1-2 ACC), the Cardinal doubled up the shot count at 18-9 and took three more penalty corners at 7-4.
This time around, the result was an upset victory for Stanford, which defeated its highest-ranked opponent in school history since shocking No. 3 Michigan State 2-1 at the Varsity Turf back on Aug. 31, 2001.
Then again, maybe Monday's result shouldn't come as much of a surprise. A fixture in the top-20 poll since last September, Stanford has fared extremely well this year against the nation's top teams. In addition to outplaying Michigan State three weeks ago, Stanford shut down the high-powered offense of unbeaten North Carolina yesterday despite losing just 2-1.
"We are excited about the progression of this program," said head coach Tara Danielson following Monday's victory. "We have continued to improve throughout the season and our system is now paying dividends inside the attacking 25. It is always difficult to be down 2-0 early in a game against a top-10 side, but I thought we showed great character and resilience today and were able to turn a deficit into a great win."
Adelaide Knott and Taylor Rhea each scored a goal during the first nine minutes, giving Wake Forest a quick 2-0 lead.
Playing the second game of a back-to-back East Coast road swing, it would have been easy for Stanford to lose momentum at that point.
Instead, Stanford received a pair of goals later in the first half to even the match at 2-2 heading into halftime. Emily Henriksson scored the first Cardinal goal at the 20:44 mark when she knocked in a loose ball that deflected off a Wake Forest player. In the 34th minute, Camille Gandhi made it 2-2 when she fired home a shot following a cross from Elise Ogle to complete a penalty corner.
Katie Mitchell put Stanford in front 3-2 in the 49th minute, beating Wake Forest keeper Kaitlyn Ruhf after a scramble near the cage.
Stephanie Byrne tacked on her team-leading fourth goal of the season at the 53:43 mark, scoring off a cross from Alysha Sekhon.
Twelve of Stanford's 18 shot attempts came during the first period, with Byrne leading all players with four. Xanthe Travlos and Katherine Donner tallied two shots apiece.
Alessandra Moss made one save in goal, improving to 5-3 and lowering her GAA to 1.52.
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NOTES: Of the 18 Stanford players that have appeared in a game this year, 13 have scored at least one goal. That type of balanced attack has also resulted in 15 different players registering at least one point ... Camille Gandhi found the cage for the first time since Stanford's NCAA Play-In game victory over Boston University last November, scoring her first goal of the 2010 campaign ... Wake Forest, which dropped its third straight game, was held to under three goals for only the third time this year ... Stanford is now 3-1 on the road, 2-0 at neutral sites and 1-2 at home ... The Cardinal defeated two top-20 teams on the road last season, taking down No. 20 Boston University and No. 17 Iowa ... The Cardinal has attempted 61 percent of its penalty corners during the second half of games this year ... Stephanie Byrne notched her third game-winning goal of the season.