Stanford women’s soccer (1-0) won its season opener 2-1 after narrowly defeating the only team that beat them last season, Pepperdine (1-2). In an intense match that remained scoreless in the first half, many opportunities could have moved either team ahead.
After falling behind 1-0, it was two scores with less than ten minutes to play that put the Cardinal up for good.
A heroic shot from outside the penalty box by redshirt sophomore midfielder Sierra Enge evened up the score with the Waves in the 83rd minute. The score was the first of the season for Enge, and the second of her career.
Just four minutes later, redshirt junior forward Civana Kuhlmann knocked in a penalty kick to give the Cardinal a lead for the first time all day with 3 minutes left to play. This also marked Kuhlmann’s first goal of the season, and her seventeenth goal for Stanford.
For the first 20 minutes, each team only managed one shot on goal, keeping the play mostly centered around midfield. Admittedly, both teams looked as though they were still finding their form: Continuous turnovers forced players from both sides up and down the field early on.
An early chance however from senior defender Kiki Pickett gave Stanford hope. Pickett unfortunately soared the ball over the crossbar after a breakaway run in the 21st minute.
In the 33rd minute, a missed header from senior forward Madison Haley left Stanford again hopeful. However, going into the half, the score remained 0-0, with eight shots on goal for Pepperdine and five for the Cardinal.
Both teams came out of the half re-energized, as Stanford won an early corner kick. But 15 minutes into the second half, Stanford was unable to pull away any further shots on goal. By the 60th minute, Pepperdine had a total of 10.
After a scoreless 70 minutes, freshman forward Victoria Romero of Pepperdine sank in a fumbled first save after an assist from junior midfielder Leyla McFarland, forcing Stanford to be one down with 20 minutes left to play.
It was then the tides turned in favor of Stanford, and the two goals in quick succession were too much to overcome for the Waves.
Other notable players included keeper redshirt sophomore Katie Meyer, who had five saves for the afternoon, as well as sophomore Kennedy Wesley and freshman Julia Leontini for their defensive efforts.
Women’s soccer will next face Oregon on Feb. 26. Kick off is set for 6 p.m. PT.