No. 3 Stanford women’s soccer (16-2-1, 9-0-1 Pac-12) finished its regular season on Friday night, drawing 1-1 against No. 20 Cal (13-6-3, 6-4-1). With the tie, the Cardinal extended their unbeaten streak to 10 games, finishing undefeated in conference play for the first time since 2012.
For most of the second half, it seemed like the Bears would ruin the Cardinal’s senior night — the final regular season home game for forward Haley Rosen, defender Laura Liedle, midfielder Kate Bettinger and goalkeeper Sarah Cox. Cal forwards Arielle Ship and Ifeoma Onumonu were incredibly active, putting pressure on the Cardinal back line with high-energy runs at goal.
The Bears’ energy and possession translated into 17 shots, the most Cardinal goalkeeper Jane Campbell had faced all season. The junior stepped up to the task, making 5 saves and keeping the Cardinal in the game when Cal’s offense started to heat up.
Campbell’s stellar performance was marred by a critical slip-up, as she allowed a rebound off a Bears corner kick that Anna Mejia tapped into the net in the 77th minute.
Just two minutes later, the Cardinal answered with a corner kick of their own. Rosen’s curling effort was blocked out to the top of the box, where freshman defender Alana Cook placed it into the corner of the goal to equalize for Stanford.
“Alana Cook was amazing,” head coach Paul Ratcliffe noted after the game. “She’s one of the best freshmen I’ve ever seen. It was truly remarkable for her to score the goal and make some of the plays she was making on defense.”
Cook and fellow center back Maddie Bauer had standout defensive performances, neutralizing the dangerous Ship, who leads the Pac-12 with 14 goals. Their positional awareness and blocking ability helped Campbell limit the Bears to a single goal.
“They saved me a ton tonight. I’m happy to have two solid people in front of me,” Campbell said of her center backs.
Though the Cardinal relied on their defense more than they typically have this season, the game was fast-paced on both sides, with both teams showing offensive quality and tenacity normally reserved for the playoffs.
Despite having just a single goal, the Cardinal offense was in top form on Friday. Rosen and sophomore Mariah Lee were standouts, the former with crisp passing and the latter with speed that the Bears’ defenders could not match. Lee’s runs off long goal kicks from Campbell often kickstarted the offense in the second half, an aggressive counterplaying strategy that the Cardinal have not had to utilize much this season.
As the College Cup looms, the step up in their opponents’ skill level will likely result in more games like Friday’s, in which the Cardinal cannot simply impose their will on the other team.
“This was a good game to end the season on, because this is indicative of what we’re going to see in the playoffs,” Ratcliffe said. “It was emotional and a real rivalry game. Every game has that tenacity to it. It was a College Cup atmosphere.”
Contact Sanjay Srinivas at ssri16 ‘at’ stanford.edu.