Stanford’s senior class staged a two-hour honoring of the beautiful game Friday night in Cagan Stadium. For goalkeeper Lauren Rood, center back Sam Hiatt, midfielder Beattie Goad, and forwards Sam Tran and Carly Malatskey, it was the last guaranteed home game in the Cardinal jersey, replete with hugs and celebrating.
“It’s always good to get a win at home, but this one’s extra sweet,” Hiatt said. “This is such an awesome place and you get here and you’re like, wow, I don’t ever want this to end. And then it feels like you blink and all of a sudden it’s your senior night.”
No. 2 Stanford (18-1, 11-0 Pac-12) controlled possession, dictated the run of play and poured on four goals to close out the regular season with a 4-0 win over Cal (13-4-2, 5-3-3 Pac-12). With goal contributions from two seniors, Stanford’s class of ’20 can now claim an 8️1-5️-2️ record, including 4️5️-1️-2️ in Cagan Stadium and 4️2-1️-2️ in Pac-12 play.
With the program claiming its fifth-consecutive Pac-12 title, the quintet were conference champions every year they donned the Cardinal jersey.
“The seniors are amazing,” Ratcliffe said. “First of all, I think they’re great people with amazing character, but when you look at it they won four Pac-12 championships. Not many players graduate and can say that, so that speaks volumes for how much dedication and work they’ve put into Stanford women’s soccer.”
Stanford scored in the blink of an eye on Friday night with sophomore center back Naomi Girma’s second goal in the past two games coming just past the minute mark. The captain pounced on a free kick from junior midfielder Catarina Macario and struck the half-volley past Cal keeper Angelina Anderson.
The assist was a program single-season record 17th for Macario, who went on to add another assist later in the game to surpass Christen Press ’11 for the all-time career assist record with 42. Macario came into the game leading the nation in nearly every scoring category and now sits one point back of the single-season record (65) set by Kelley O’Hara ’10 in her senior campaign.
“Cat is an incredible player,” Ratcliffe said. “You can put her anywhere on the field and she’s going to make magic, she’s potent in the midfield and up front, and her playmaking ability is really special.”
Macario took 11 of Stanford’s 39 shots; Cal took just one. The Stanford defense rebounded from a performance with two goals conceded to Arizona that snapped a month-long shutout streak lasting over 830 minutes.
“We all definitely weren’t satisfied with the last game,” Hiatt said. “So it was just coming out with the mentality that we’re not gonna let anyone score on us.”
“The defense was really solid,” Ratcliffe said. “I think they were obviously disappointed last game that we as a team conceded a couple goals. Today, they were really strong, well-organized, and committed.”
Cal’s lone shot came at the hour mark, when Mia Corbin won an aerial contest with redshirt freshman goalkeeper Katie Meyer to send a header towards goal. Junior right back Kiki Pickett tracked back to make a sensational sliding save at the goal-line to preserve the shutout — Meyer’s fifth of the season. Stanford’s goalkeeper lowered her goals against average to 0.27 while holding the Bears scoreless for just the fifth time this season.
On Stanford’s side, there were no problems finding the back of the net. The team’s 16th multi-goal game was clinched in the 11th minute by Malatskey, who continued her sublime senior season with her ninth goal of the year and 10th of her career. Junior forward Madison Haley regained possession for the Cardinal, dropped the ball off to Goad, who connected with Malatskey on the wing. From there, the senior cut across the grain to open up a shooting lane and struck a ball along the surface.
The third goal of the night was a second-half screamer by sophomore forward Sophia Smith, who hit a near-identical ball to her goal in the Arizona game. Macario started the sequence, but this time from the run of play, switching the ball across the field through Goad and out wide to Smith. The forward put her defender on her back foot and sent a dipping ball that left Anderson a spectator.
Anderson set a new career-high with 13 saves, but the four goals were the most conceded by Berkeley this season.
Tran capped off the senior night festivities with a daring header on a cross sent in by Pickett. The right back found herself deep in Bears territory and beat two defenders to deliver the ball to Tran at the back post.
“It’s a big night, but at the same time, we have pretty big goals,” Hiatt said. “Emotions were high, but at the same time, we all had it in the back of our minds that we’re not done yet.”
More than anything, the seniors are hoping to repeat one win in particular: the national championship. The Cardinal delivered the trophy in 2017, but fell in the semifinals a year ago in Cary, North Carolina. They are eager to defend home turf with the College Cup taking place down the road in San Jose.
Stanford will learn its fate next Monday at the NCAA tournament selection show. The only team the polls ranked higher than the Cardinal is Virginia (16-0-3, 6-0-3 ACC), though Stanford is the first-ranked program in the NCAA’s own RPI.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.