On March 5, Stanford women’s soccer (1-2, 0-2 Pac-12) takes on Utah (1-2-2, 0-2 Pac-12) for what fans hope will be Stanford’s second win of the season.
Coming off two consecutive losses, the Cardinal hopes to pull out a win and find the spark it needs to dominate a season that has thus far had a slow start.
Against Utah, Stanford has a 10-1-1 all-time record, with its most recent loss coming in 2006. However, this is hardly reassuring to fans, who have watched the Cardinal unexpectedly drop the last two games.
Both Oregon and Oregon State upset Stanford last week for the first and second time in history, respectively. With that said, Stanford is still the favorite coming into Friday’s fixture.
Last season, Stanford defeated Utah 4-0, with goals coming from senior forward Madison Haley and turned-pro players Sophia Smith and Catarina Macario. In the snowy matchup, redshirt sophomore keeper Katie Meyer had two saves, making it her fifth shutout of that season.
Notably, all assists also came from the three goal-scorers, a worry that Stanford will take into the game Friday, as they are now without two of those players.
Stanford is also suffering from a possible injury concern. The verdict is still out on freshman center back Julia Leontini, who experienced some serious contact during the Oregon game and did not play the Oregon State game. With a thinned and younger defense this season, the Cardinal can not afford to have Leontini out for an extended period of time.
Other concerns come from Stanford’s ability to finish off its opportunities. With 15 shots during the Oregon State game, only seven were on target, and only one was finished.
Contrast this to the Utah game from last year: Stanford was able to fire off 17 shots, 12 of which were on target and four of which hit the back of the net.
Altogether, if Stanford plans to continue its winning streaks against teams like Utah, the Cardinal will need to take more shots and put them on frame.
Fans should keep an eye out for Haley, who is anticipated to be one of the most dominant goal-scorers for the team this season, and sophomore midfielder Maya Doms, who has yet to capitalize on opportunities she is creating up the middle.
As always, fans will also be looking to Meyer and her defense to start up another shutout streak this season. Being only three games in, the Cardinal still has plenty to play.
The match kicks off at 3 p.m. PT and can be watched live here.