No. 13 Stanford women’s soccer (4-0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) built on its stirring victory over San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, extending its win streak with a 5-1 victory over UC Santa Barbara (1-3-1, 0-0 Big West).
At home in Cagan Stadium, Stanford dominated throughout the first half. Within the first two minutes, the Cardinal’s initial push forward presented promising hopes for a goal. While maintaining a calm and composed attitude passing up top, Stanford pushed the pace of the game, pressing the Gauchos, forcing inaccurate passes and drawing fouls.
Although the Cardinal seemingly commanded the field, the score remained 0-0 as the Gauchos earned a free kick just outside of Stanford’s box. As the first dangerous opportunity for UCSB, defender Alyssa O’Brien set up her shot, facing a wall of five Stanford bodies. Stanford blocked the shot, conceding a corner kick but escaping without incurring any danger.
Quick to bounce back, the Cardinal threatened with their own opportunity as freshman forward Lumi Kostmayer faced a foot-race against Gacuho goalkeeper Evann Smith. In a 50-50 ball, Kostmayer slid to the ground in hopes of putting in the first goal. Unfortunately, all the freshman earned was an injury. Kostmayer then limped to the bench, where she iced her leg for the remaining 72 minutes of the match.
To any other team, the loss of a starter may have proved difficult to overcome; however, Stanford’s deep bench came in handy as junior forward Amy Sayer entered the game only to earn the Cardinal’s first goal a mere three minutes later. With predictive thinking, the Australian placed herself at the top of the six-yard box just as the Gaucho goalkeeper failed to clear an incoming cross.
Following the first goal, the Cardinal further utilized its deep bench, substituting in four new players including freshman forward Allie Montoya. She was able to secure the first assist of her young Cardinal career, helping Sayer sink a header and earn her second goal of the match in just the 30th minute.
While UCSB’s goalkeeper aimed to slow the pace of the game, the Cardinal were not to be stopped. With so many players in the rotation, Stanford was able to keep the pace fast and press high. They experimented with new combinations of players, adding freshman defender Logan Smith to the back line. Smith, earning her first minutes as a Cardinal, joined what was already a strong defensive rotation, including sophomore defender Avani Brandt, senior defender Kennedy Wesley and freshman defender Elise Evans, who was the No. 1 recruit of the Class of 2022.
It was the Cardinal defense that held down the fort as the forwards pushed for a third goal. After pounding at the door, it was senior midfielder Katie Duong who was finally able to find the back of the net and finish off the first half, giving Stanford a 3-0 lead.
While the second half proved to be slightly more evenly matched, Stanford still dominated with 20 shots as opposed to UCSB’s three. Eleven minutes in, senior midfielder Maya Doms was able to secure a goal of her own. A notably fiery player, Doms was able to keep the fast pace of her squad and bring strength to the midfield, where the Cardinal maintained the majority of possession.
Stanford’s one blemish came in the 78th minute, when the team gave up a quick counterattack opportunity. Capitalizing on her speed and a breakaway opportunity, UCSB’s Claire Grouwinkel was able to find the back of the net with a quick release into the upper right corner, shattering the Cardinal’s season shutout.
The Cardinal replied with a goal of their own — just two minutes after Grouwinkel’s strike. A precise cross by redshirt sophomore forward Catherine Paulson met the feet of graduate student forward Abby Greubel, who was able to successfully redirect the ball to the upper left corner. Gruebel started this game and has continuously proved to be a reliable, established force in an otherwise somewhat young team.
By the final whistle, Stanford had topped UCSB 5-1, earning the largest margin of victory in the history of this matchup. With goals scored by four different players, the Cardinal continued to demonstrate their breadth of talent and skill.
Next up, Stanford takes on No. 10 Penn State on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m in an already-sold out matchup.