April 17, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. -
Thirty-one minutes and fifty-eight seconds of action between No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 California resulted in a 7-7 stalemate until Jessica Steffens whipped the game-winning goal into the back of the net in the game's penultimate second, giving the Cardinal an 8-7 victory Saturday night at Avery Aquatic Center.
Stanford (21-1, 6-0) remains perfect in MPSF play with the win, setting up a battle for the conference regular season title and the top seed at the MPSF Tournament next Saturday, April 24 against No. 1 USC at Avery Aquatic Center. The Cardinal will also be celebrating Senior Day prior to that contest. California drops to 23-6 and 4-3 in the MPSF with the loss.
Steffens' heroics were possible thanks to a key defensive stand by the Cardinal seconds earlier, as a convergence of defenders forced a takeaway after California tried to force a pass inside. With four seconds remaining, head coach John Tanner called his final timeout to set up a last-chance play.
The play would work as Kelsey Holshouser played the ball straight to Steffens, who turned and fired through the California defense and into the lower-left corner of the net past Golden Bear goalie Stephanie Peckham as bedlam ensued in the Stanford half of the stands.
It was Steffens' only goal of the game, as the Cardinal got individual goals from six players and two from senior Kim Krueger. Amber Oland made seven saves in the contest and played a perfect fourth period to help maintain the 7-7 tie and set up the game-winner.
Stanford got off to a perfect start in the contest, winning the opening sprint and cashing in after just 19 seconds elapsed, as Alex Koran found herself unmarked in the left corner and fired home to the far post. Following a defensive stop, the Cardinal struck again, this time behind the arm of Holshouser, and just like that the Cardinal were up a pair just 1:06 into the game.
California would turn the tables, though, Meghan Corso answered with a 6-on-5 goal at the 6:16 mark, and Stephanie Schnugg equalized with 5:02 to play in the first period.
While the California defense was clamping down on the Cardinal over the rest of the opening frame, the Golden Bears' Breda Vosters gave the blue and gold the lead with 17 seconds left.
The rest of the game would be played airtight, as neither team ever led by more than one goal. Melissa Seidemann pulled the Cardinal even just 42 seconds into the second frame, but the Golden Bears would re-take the lead at 5:41 on Elizabeth McLaren's score.
Stanford would score two straight behind the arms of Annika Dries and Kelly Eaton at the 3:20 and 1:39 marks, respectively, but the lead would only last 29 seconds before California's Julie Oreglia made it 5-5, which is what the scoreboard read at the half.
The teams traded a pair of goals each in the third period, with California taking a one-goal lead just to have Stanford pull even each time. Each team scored in the frame's opening minute, as Oreglia got her second just 22 seconds into the frame, and Krueger answering at the 7:08 mark. Corso would put the Golden Bears back in front 19 seconds later, but Krueger would answer once more at the 1:27 mark to make it a 7-7 game.
The teams battled to a draw for all but the final second of the final period, with players from both sides hitting the posts and crossbar of their respective goals, and each goalie making key saves. In the final minute, Stanford's Pallavi Menon fired wide with 25 seconds remaining, prompting a California timeout.
After the Golden Bears turned the ball over trying to pass inside, the Cardinal called time to set up Steffens' final goal.
California - 3 2 2 0 = 7
Stanford - 2 3 2 1 = 8
Stanford Goal Scorers: Krueger 2, Dries, Eaton, Holshouser, Koran, Seidemann, Steffens
California Goal Scorers: Corso 2, Oreglia 2, McLaren, Schnugg, Vosters
Goalie Saves: Oland 7 (S); Peckham 6 (C)