Oct. 5, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY -
Nina Watkins scored in the 35th minute to give No. 2 Stanford a 1-0 victory over Utah in a Pac-12 women's soccer match Friday, allowing the Cardinal to extend its conference winning streak to 35.
Stanford (10-1-1 overall, 4-0 Pac-12) capitalized on a mistake by Utah (7-3-2, 2-2) for the goal. Rachel Quon sent a long free kick into the penalty area from the right side and the Utes reacted by moving up quickly on an attempted offsides trap.
However, the timing was slightly off and Stanford was left five with players alone behind a defense that did not attempt to stop them.
Watkins, who entered the match five minutes earlier, collected the ball and patiently slotted the ball past goalkeeper Lindsey Luke for her second goal of the season.
"It was a passive offsides," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "If players are not involved in the play and if they don't touch the ball, they can be offsides. But the referee explained to me that Nina was the last one coming through and she was onside."
Said Utah coach Rich Manning, during a halftime interview on the Pac-12 Networks, "They prepared for our trap and they broke it. Good play Stanford."
Even with the opening, Watkins did well to place her shot inside the right post.
"Her composure was amazing," Ratcliffe said.
Stanford controlled the possession throughout the match and outshot the Utes, 12-4. Though goalkeeper Emily Oliver was required to make only one save, she made a key stop in the 87th minute by leaving the goal to dive to the feet of Utah's Ashton Hall to snare a potentially dangerous through ball.
"I was very happy with our performance, especially with our possession and style of play," Ratcliffe said. "But we can get better in the final third."
Though she didn't factor in the goal, midfield sub Hannah Farr was integral to the victory. Her energy and defensive pressure forced numerous Utah mistakes and allowed Stanford to regain possession.
Stanford resumes action on Sunday (noon PT) at Colorado.