Aug. 17, 2012
Box Score |
STANFORD, Calif. - The first half was about the worst possible scenario for Stanford women's soccer and the infant Pac-12 Networks.
During its first live event, the opening half was short on excitement and the conference team was behind.
But the second half? Simply great television.
That's when top-ranked Stanford erupted for six goals in 21 minutes to win what became a thoroughly entertaining 6-1 season-opening rout over No. 17 Santa Clara on Friday night. Entertaining, at least, for Stanford and network executives.
Challenging his players at halftime to step forward, Paul Ratcliffe's oratory seemed to hit home. Before a sellout crowd of 2,084 at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, senior captain Mariah Nogueira tied the score less than two minutes into the second half and the Cardinal took the lead in the 53rd minute to begin the onslaught.
The Nogueira goal was the key, said Ratcliffe, of what became the 400th victory in the 29 years of the program and its first in all-black kits. It also was Stanford's seventh consecutive victory in the South Bay derby, by a combined score of 24-3.
"Up front, we were a little hesitant," Ratcliffe said. "We just needed more creativity from the forwards. I told them I thought we were playing well - Santa Clara scored against the run of play - but we had to be more dynamic."
Seeking to make more diagonal and overlapping runs, and to create more confusion in the Santa Clara defense, Stanford emerged with a fresh approach. And it was almost immediately rewarded when Nogueira, despite receiving plenty of attention on set pieces, nodded in Courtney Verloo's corner kick at 46:55.
Shortly after, it was Rachel Quon who swooped into the box on a deep run from her outside back position to knock in a loose ball.
Then it was Sydney Payne's turn to score, followed by Alina Garciamendez and junior Natalie Griffen, who scored twice in her first collegiate start.
"The goal that Mariah scored gave us a lift," Ratcliffe said. "Our confidence levels went up and you saw what we were capable of doing."
Because of graduation and injuries, only four starters from last season's College Cup final - Quon, Nogueira, and central defenders Garciamendez and Kendall Romine -- were in the lineup on Opening Night. The starters also included freshmen outside back Laura Liedle, who provided two assists, and midfielder Kate Bettinger. Classmates Maya Theuer and Katie Donahue, along with sophomore Haley Rosen, came off the bench to make their first collegiate appearances as well.
Santa Clara opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Sarah Jackson took a throw-in and weaved up the right sideline to feed Olivia Klei for a half-volley. Stanford had controlled much of the possession, but had no strong chances to show for it. But that changed in the second half, with the Cardinal outshooting Santa Clara, 15-3.
Verloo, in her first match at forward in three years, didn't score, but played a role in each of the first three goals. Besides supplying the corner on Nogueira's header, Verloo sent in the ball that led to Quon's score, and dummied a pass on Payne's goal for a 3-1 lead.
Griffen had been seeking more playing time, but knew it would only come if she put the ball into the net. Her start was an opportunity, with Ratcliffe and his staff searching for someone who could provide consistent production.
Griffen needed to make some kind of impact, and did so with a scorching 30-yarder in the 64th minute. Then, she struck another, this time from 15 yards to equal her career scoring total in a four-minute span.
With that, Stanford's 51st consecutive home victory - the Cardinal hasn't lost at Cagan Stadium since 2007 - and 22nd consecutive triumph overall was essentially complete.
Definitely, good television.
-- David Kiefer, Stanford Athletics
Stanford 6, Santa Clara 1
Scoring: SCU: Olivia Klei (Sarah Jackson), 12:53. STAN: Mariah Nogueira (Courtney Verloo), 46:55; STAN: Rachel Quon (unassisted), 52:11; STAN: Sydney Payne (Natalie Griffen), 58:35; STAN: Alina Garciamendez (Rachel Quon, Taylor McCann), 60:55; STAN: Natalie Griffen (Taylor McCann), 63:08; STAN: Natalie Griffen (unassisted), 67:33.
Records: Stanford 1-0, Santa Clara 0-1.