At the end of another season of Stanford athletics, The Daily’s sports staff sat down and compiled the top 10 moments in Stanford sports from the 2014-15 school year — the best moments of individual and team triumph, of milestones and of next-level success from Stanford’s student-athletes.
1. Women’s golf wins first NCAA team title
Mariah Stackhouse’s comeback against Baylor’s Hayley Davis in the NCAA golf final required what may have been the best play of the junior’s career. Down two with two holes to go, a single mishit stroke could have ended it for Stackhouse and the Cardinal. Unfazed by the intensity of the moment, the No. 27 individual in the country birdied the final two holes to tie things up, then shifted the pressure on Davis by making a par putt on the first hole of the playoff. Davis missed, and Stanford earned its 107th NCAA title.
2. Women’s water polo successfully defends its national championship
In a matchup of the two heavyweights of collegiate women’s water polo, the pivotal moment in the title match surprisingly came not from the pool, but from the sideline. With the game tied at six and 11 seconds remaining on the clock, UCLA coach Brandon Brooks called a timeout while the ball was in open water. Penalty shot for Stanford. Senior anchor Kiley Neushul stepped up and netted the shot, and a desperate last-second UCLA counterattack fell short as the Cardinal brought the title back home to the Farm.
3. Austin Meyer’s golden goal gives men’s soccer a Pac-12 title
Fifth-year senior Austin Meyer hadn’t seen much action throughout the first four years of his Stanford career, but given the opportunity to play regularly in his final season on the Farm, Meyer came through in a big way. Facing Cal in the regular season finale and needing a victory to secure an outright Pac-12 title over UCLA, Meyer stepped up in the second overtime and, with time winding down on Stanford’s title hopes, netted a heart-stopping game-winner in the 103rd minute to give Stanford its first Pac-12 crown since 2001.
4. Women’s basketball upsets UConn, ending the Huskies’ 47-game win streak
Amber Orrange arrived at Stanford one year too late to be a part of the Cardinal team that made history by snapping Connecticut’s record 90-game win streak. When the senior did get a chance to repeat the impossible against a Huskies side that had notched 47 straight wins, however, she didn’t hesitate to take charge. Orrange nailed a game-tying 3-pointer with less than three seconds to go in regulation, then netted a go-ahead two in overtime as she and sophomore Lili Thompson led Stanford to another shocking victory over No. 1 UConn, leading to a frenzied storming of the court at Maples.
5. David Nolan cements his legacy with the swims of his life
Already one of the most touted swimmers in the country, David Nolan became a record-holder when his 1:40:07 in the 200-meter freestyle event of the Pac-12 Championships beat Ryan Lochte’s American record by one hundredth of a second. Just 19 days later, he cemented himself in legend when he again broke the record with a frankly unbelievable time of 1:39:38, which marked the first time the event has ever been swam in less than 1:40 — a record that will likely stand for decades to come.
6. Chasson Randle sets the all-time points record for Stanford men’s basketball
Through times both bad and good (and two NIT championships, to boot), senior Chasson Randle had always been one of the leaders of the team during his years with Stanford men’s basketball. In the semifinals of this year’s NIT, he finally saw his efforts rewarded when, on a free throw, he broke Todd Lichti’s record for most career points scored for the Cardinal. Randle’s efforts in the game helped the team advance to the finals, and the senior then added 25 to his total in the championship against Miami as he led Stanford to its second NIT title in four years.
7. Jordan Morris scores for USMNT against Mexico
USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann went deep into his back pocket by giving Jordan Morris a start in an April 16 friendly against Mexico, making him the first collegiate player to start for the team in 15 years. The forward did not let him down, and became the youngest person in USMNT history to score a goal in a friendly when he tucked a Gyasi Zardes pass that had fortuitously bounced off two Mexican defenders through the legs of Mexican goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo. The goal opened scoring for the U.S. as it coasted to a 2-0 victory.
8. Maverick McNealy takes matters into his own hands
Maverick McNealy had all but locked up the Pac-12 men’s golf individual title through three rounds of play in the conference championships. Rather than kick back in the final round, however, the sophomore multiplied his intensity tenfold: he set a collegiate course record by shooting 9-under 61 and ensured that the Cardinal won the Pac-12 team title by a double-digit margin, completing a remarkable comeback against ASU in which Stanford trailed by nine strokes heading into the final day but eventually won by a 14-stroke margin.
9. Simone Manuel makes a legendary splash at the NCAA Championships
Manuel sure didn’t swim like a freshman to cap off an incredible inaugural season on the Farm, leading the team with seven All-America honors at the national championships in North Carolina as the Cardinal took third place as a team. Manuel swept the sprint national titles, winning both the 50 free and the 100 free, becoming just the third athlete in Stanford history to do so. Her 46.09 in the 100 also set a new American record by two-tenths of a second. To cap things off, she also swam a tremendous anchor leg in the 400 medley relay to push Stanford to another American record and her fourth national title of the meet (she was also part of the team that won the 400 free relay earlier in the meet).
10. Jane Campbell wins penalty kick shootout to send women’s soccer to College Cup
In collegiate soccer, the stage doesn’t really get much bigger than a penalty-kick shootout, particularly when a berth in the College Cup (the national semifinals) is on the line for the victor. Stanford goalkeeper Jane Campbell didn’t let the monumental stage phase her, though. After holding Florida to two goals in regulation and three during the first few stages of the shootout, the keeper herself stepped up to the line and delivered a beautiful goal that secured a Stanford victory and brought her teammates into a delirious mob a Cagan Stadium.