Oct. 23, 2011
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STANFORD, Calif. - Quite simply, Lindsay Taylor is "one of the best finishers in the college game," her coach Paul Ratcliffe said.
The senior forward showed why on Sunday, scoring twice in No. 1 Stanford's 4-1 victory over Colorado in Pac-12 women's soccer action before 1,592 at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
This followed her two-goal performance on Friday against Utah and gives Taylor six goals in her past four matches - and 14 goals this season.
"Lindsay's always had a nose for the goal," said midfielder Teresa Noyola, a teammate of Taylor's since childhood with the Mountain View-Los Altos Mercury.
Taylor has the ability to create something out of nothing, striking the ball from long range or short, from a dead stop or on the run, and can place it into the tightest of spots.
Against Colorado (4-10-2, 1-6-1), a team struggling in its first year in the new conference, Taylor's goals gave Stanford the gap it needed to control the match for most of its 90 minutes, though the Buffaloes fought hard and were not intimidated by the Cardinal's ranking.
Marjani Hing-Glover opened the scoring in the 11th minute when she intercepted a pass from Colorado goalkeeper Kayla Millar - who received the ball from a teammate and had to play it with her feet. The junior pushed forward and cut left to set up a hard and low left-footed shot from 22 yards. It was Hing-Glover's sixth goal of the season, matching her total from the past two years combined.
Just three minutes later, Taylor took a through ball on the run from Chioma Ubogagu and shot low inside the left post from 12 yards for a 2-0 lead. Ubogagu, a true impact freshman, now has four goals and three assists in her past four matches, and has eight goals and nine assists this season.
In the 63rd minute, defender Annie Case played a long ball over the defense from the left that met the head of Taylor, rushing in at the far post, for another beautiful goal.
"We need to be getting L.T. the ball in the right spots in and around the box," Noyola said. "It's important that we get her the ball there."
After a penalty kick by Colorado's Kate Russell in the 74th minute following a foul by Alina Garciamendez on Anne Stuller at the edge of the penalty area, Sydney Payne closed out the scoring by knocking in a rebound of Taylor McCann's shot off the crossbar in the 80th minute.
With three matches left in the regular season, Stanford can clinch its third consecutive Pac-12 title with a victory or draw at second-place Oregon State (6-2 Pac-12) on Friday. A victory would clinch the championship outright and a draw would clinch at least a share of the title.
Although Stanford failed to earn a shutout, it has allowed only one goal in the run of play in its past 11 matches. The Cardinal also extended its regular-season unbeaten streak to 59, its home winning streak to 45, and its conference winning streak to 28.
In addition, Stanford is 115-0-5 when scoring a goal since 2006. And its senior class of Taylor, Noyola, Camille Levin, and Kristy Zurmuhlen are a combined 72-1-4 in regular-season play at Stanford and 86-4-4 overall.
The concern for Stanford on Sunday was keeping up its energy level when playing with a big lead, against a driven opponent, and in warm conditions that peaked at 80 degrees. Colorado, though outplayed, was inspired.
"These teams are going to come at us strong," Noyola said. "It's their biggest game of the season and they're obviously going to bring it. It's good for us because it prepares us well for the playoffs."
But Ratcliffe cautioned not to lose sight of the clearest indicator of Stanford's play.
"Any time you can score four goals," he said, "it's a good performance."
-- David Kiefer, Stanford Athletics