Scoreless streak snapped in Salt Lake City

Sept. 28, 2014, 11:40 p.m.

It took 893 minutes over the course of nine and a half games, but the No. 4 Stanford women’s soccer team finally conceded a goal in a 1-1 draw against Utah.

The Cardinal, behind the hands of one of the best young keepers in the world in sophomore Jane Campbell, had shut out every single opponent they played, including the potent attacks of Notre Dame and North Carolina.

Sophomore midfielder Megan Turner (above) scored the Cardinal’s lone goal in Salt Late City when she sent a cross aimed at senior forward Chioma Ubogagu that missed Ubogagu but scooted into the goal anyway.(JIM SHORIN/

Utah had been dealing with a number of injuries and lost another player early in the game on Friday when standout junior midfielder Katie Rigby went down early. With its starting lineup hamstrung, Utah hardly seemed like the most likely candidate to score the first goal against the Cardinal this year, but it proved to be more than up to the occasion following the starting whistle.

“The reality is that conference is very challenging,” said head coach Paul Ratcliffe. “You have to play the best game possible and even then it might not be enough because the conference is so strong.”

The Utes’ attack was continually organized and progressive, as they seemed to be able to create chances early on against a fatigued-looking Stanford defense. It was the Cardinal that struck first, however, as sophomore midfielder Megan Turner almost apologetically lofted a ball from about 10 yards outside the box from the right side straight over Utah keeper Lindsey Luke, squarely off the left post and in.

Though Turner’s cross clearly sought senior forward Chioma Ubogagu’s run arriving on the backside, Turner was perhaps only guilty of providing too perfect of a service. Instead of Ubogagu providing the last touch during the excellent combination play, the wind saw fit to provide the final touch, kissing the ball off the post.

That would prove to be the only Cardinal goal, though they were not without their chances.

Cardinal senior midfielder Alex Doll had some tantalizing runs, routinely beating Utah right backs and center backs down the wing and over the top. Her efforts were spoiled by a lack of finishing touch and some excellent goalkeeping by Luke.

This was probably a game that Stanford could have put away at multiple times. Time and time again, the Cardinal created space at the top of the box, only to miss the last pass, often to a wide-open Ubogagu. The frustration became apparent as the team started to force the ball and take low-percentage shots.

But credit the Utes, especially the center backs, who really prevented the ball from traveling across the box. When Stanford did finally get some full chances, Utah keeper Luke came up big.

“We had so many good chances,” Ratcliffe said. “When you play a strong team and don’t put them away, it can come back and haunt you. That’s what happened. We had a few good opportunities and we were playing good soccer. We could have made it 2-0 and it would have been a different game. Instead, they stay in the game and grow in confidence.”

Utah was certainly worthy of its streak-spoiling goal; it earned a number of full chances from the productive tandem of senior midfielder Katie Taylor and junior defender Megan Trabert. The Cardinal defense looked a bit ragged as well, no doubt affected by the tough last stretch of their schedule and the first road trip of the season.

The first conceded goal of the season came off of a small defensive error when sophomore defender Maddie Bauer cleared the ball unconvincingly and the ball happened to bounce straight to Utah’s Mikayla Elmer, who controlled the ball and finished from the left side.

It’s no secret that the Pac-12 is the best conference from top to bottom, and despite conceding their first goal, the Cardinal shouldn’t be leaving Utah disappointed. Yes, Utah had a number of key injuries, but its substitutes stepped in admirably.

The women’s soccer team will likely be frustrated by its performance in Utah, but there are a lot of good things to take away from the game. First and foremost, the Cardinal remain undefeated and look every bit like the top team they are. Secondly, Utah played with incredible energy the entire game, while Stanford hardly played its best.

While Utah missed some key players, it really did look an equal side until late in the second half, when Stanford seemed to dig deep and began to dominate possession and made use of it as well, creating a barrage of chances.

“We started a little slow and came on strong at the end of the half,” Ratcliffe said. “But we didn’t capitalize on our chances and it hurt us in the long run.”

Stanford held possession in overtime and had the chance to come out of Salt Lake City with a win, but Utah was content to draw back and rely on counterattacks. The Cardinal did well to battle a highly motivated Utah side, and despite frustrations, were still the better team on the field.

“They did everything they could, but just ran out of time,” Ratcliffe said.

Stanford remains undefeated and will take on Washington at home on Friday at 8 p.m. in the Pac-12 home opener.

Contact Nicholas Radoff at nradoff ‘at’

Nic Radoff '15 is now officially from Oakland and is a proud to be a history major and a Latin-American studies minor. Nic was a staff writer for women's soccer and follows football extensively, whether his editors let him write about it or not. He is a proud member of the men's club lacrosse team and invites you all to come watch most Saturdays, even though you might not see him on the field much. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking with his husky Artoo, lamenting his A's and maintaining that things get better with age.

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