Halfway through its season, the Stanford women’s soccer team is looking primed for a championship run, as they dominated a hapless Arizona team at home in a 7-0 victory Saturday night to improve to 9-0-1 in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
Six Cardinal players chipped in for seven goals, five of which came in the second half. Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Oliver played 57 minutes, did not face a single shot and recorded the win.
The Stanford women came out of the gate strong, attacking the Wildcats and earning quality scoring chances. At 10:58, freshman forward Chioma Ubogagu hit the post with a shot, and sophomore forward Sydney Payne volleyed in the rebound to put Stanford on the board.
But the Card struggled for most of the rest of the half to capitalize on myriad opportunities. Ubogagu, Payne and senior midfielder Teresa Noyola all had excellent chances after the first tally but could not convert.
Head coach Paul Ratcliffe then made several substitutions and tweaked his lineup to jumpstart the offense just before halftime. The new substitutes sparked the Cardinal attack almost immediately. Junior forward Marjani Hing-Glover sent Noyola ahead with a through pass, and Noyola passed to sophomore midfielder Taylor McCann who fired past the Arizona goalie from 12 yards to put Stanford up 2-0 with under a minute left in the half.
“We were having trouble breaking through, and we looked a little bit flat, so I thought we needed a bit of change, and Taylor McCann went in and she added that change to the game and scored a great goal,” Ratcliffe said. “With the changes, I thought the energy level went up, and [we had] more creativity.”
Stanford came out at the start of the second half and put the game away, scoring three times in a span of six minutes.
Senior midfielder Kristy Zurmuhlen scored on a header from a Taylor corner kick. Ratcliffe said the team had been practicing several set plays for corner kicks. Stanford nearly scored in the first half on a pass to the short side from a corner kick; on Zurmuhlen’s goal, the Cardinal set up for this play again and drew two defenders out of the box before punching it in.
Minutes later, redshirt freshman defenseman Kendall Romine scored her first career goal on a left-footed rocket from 30 yards out.
“I just saw the open space, and so I took it, and when I hit the shot, I was a little surprised that it went in but really excited at the same time,” Romine said. “It was just a great feeling.”
The Cardinal displayed excellent ball movement on its fifth goal, as junior defenseman Alina Garciamendez passed down the sideline to fellow junior defenseman Rachel Quon. She crossed to Taylor, who settled the ball and scored her seventh goal of the season.
“One thing that we are good at as a team is knowing that we’re going to get the goals eventually,” Taylor said. “The way we play is possession-oriented, and we’re able to break teams down and get more goals in the second half.”
In the ensuing minutes, Ratcliffe made nine substitutions–no Cardinal player was in the game for its entire length. However, any notion that the wholesale substitutions would stop the flood of Stanford goals was quickly put to rest.
Hing-Glover challenged the Wildcat goaltender on a tipped ball, maneuvered around her and drilled the ball into the open net.
Less than two minutes later, sophomore forward Shelby Payne passed to Hing-Glover, who fired a high volley that bounced off the post and in. Hing-Glover had several chances for a hat-trick, but could not convert.
“Players came in off the bench and were hungry to prove themselves, and they did,” Ratcliffe said.
A crowd of 1,756 packed Laird Q. Cagan Stadium to watch Stanford’s 41st consecutive home win. The Cardinal travel northwest this weekend to play Washington State at 3 p.m. Friday and Washington at 12 p.m. Sunday.