Sept. 27, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - In the eyes of coach Paul Ratcliffe, except for giving up a goal, Stanford’s 5-1 rout of Pac-12 contender Oregon State on Thursday was about as close to perfection as a coach can aspire.
“It was a fantastic team performance,” Ratcliffe said. “We got goals from five different players, we had great possession, and we played attacking soccer.
“That’s what you dream of as a coach.”
Both teams were ranked – Stanford is No. 2 and Oregon State No. 23 in the NSCAA coaches’ poll – and had proven themselves as conference heavyweights the past couple of years. That’s why the result seemed staggering. Stanford scored more goals than the Beavers had allowed all season (four).
Chioma Ubogagu’s goal in the third minute began the scoring flurry at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
Stanford (8-1-1 overall, 2-0 Pac-12) used five different goal scorers to extend its conference winning streak to 33 and its home unbeaten streak to 60. Ubogagu scored only 2:12 into the match on a left-footed shot that was deflected, but not stopped by Beaver goalkeeper Audrey Bernier-Larose.
Courtney Verloo scored for the fourth consecutive match and was followed on the scoresheet by Haley Rosen, Nina Watkins, and Mariah Nogueira, the latter on a diving header in the 54th minute to give the Cardinal a 5-0 lead.
However, the Cardinal’s five-match shutout streak ended just short of a sixth, when Gwen Bieck of Oregon State (9-2, 1-1) scored from close range off a corner kick in the 86th minute. It was the first goal allowed by Stanford in 588 minutes, 30 seconds.
Though the shutout streak ended, the quest for perfection continued. Stanford started two freshmen in the backline, including first-time starter Maya Theuer
who was paired with captain Alina Garciamendez
in central defense, and regular starter Laura Liedle
at outside back. Midfielder Nina Watkins
and goalkeeper Emily Oliver
also made their first starts of the season.
The key defensively was controlling Beaver forward Jenna Richardson. She had scored four goals in six matches since returning from the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, where she played for Canada. Richardson took three shots and threatened on several occasions, but was ultimately shut down.
“We knew they started with two up front,” Liedle said. “We wanted to make sure to tuck in on defense. And then on offense, we’d use our outside backs to help us spread wide and open up the field.”
That was the case for all five goals, which were all scored inside the box from fairly close range and in space. It was the first goal of the season for Ubogagu, and first for her since heading in the overtime winner for the United States to beat North Korea in the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup on Aug. 31.
Stanford, in fact, was extremely efficient with its shooting, scoring five goals on only 15 shots. The final shot total was even, at 15-15. It was the second-most shots the Cardinal had faced all season.
The goal allowed, however, stung a little for Stanford.
“We don’t want any goals scored on us,” Liedle said. “We want a shutout every single game.”
Stanford resumes play on Sunday in a noon match against visting Oregon (5-3-2, 0-0-1). It will provide one more opportunity to strive for perfection.
-- David Kiefer, Stanford Athletics