In front of an at-capacity crowd at Cagan Stadium on Thursday evening, the No. 14 Stanford women’s soccer team (10-2-1, 3-1-0 Pac-12) withstood a late push from the visiting Huskies, defeating Washington (8-2-2, 2-2-0 Pac-12) 2-1.
Freshman forward Allie Montoya scored both of Stanford’s goals. Junior forward Samantha Williams and redshirt senior midfielder Sierra Enge also recorded assists.
The game started with strong defense from the Huskies, with Washington goalie Olivia Sekany saving three of Stanford’s shots. Stanford’s defense returned aggressively, with sophomore defender Kellie Pagador committing a foul against Washington forward Kyla Ferry, resulting in a free kick awarded to Ferry.
The Cardinal soon found their footing, taking control of the match before they had even found the opener. A number of chances were wide of the mark, much to the crowd’s dismay.
The opener finally came in the 22nd minute, when Montoya, taking on her defender one-on-one, cut middle and took the shot, making her fourth goal of the year.
“Allie has been phenomenal,” head coach Paul Ratcliffe said. “She gets better with each and every game. She’s just a great talent and a great player. She’s creating goals, she’s keeping possession fresh, she’s making sense of our place.”
The freshman did not let up from there, attempting another shot, before making a second goal in the first half with an assist from Enge and Williams. According to Ratcliffe, this was his favorite moment of the game.
In the second half of the game, the team faced some difficulty. “It was unfortunately too much just kicking and running and it got a little bit ugly at times,” Ratcliffe said. After Washington scored a goal off a header from Kelsey Branson, Stanford was forced to play in their own half for the remainder of the game.
The last 15 minutes of the match were tense for the Cardinal team and fans alike. Washington had a few chances that almost connected with the back of the net. Nevertheless, Stanford pulled through thanks to a few key saves from junior goalkeeper Ryan Campbell.
“Overall, the mentality of the group was very strong,” Ratcliffe said. “They showed resilience in difficult situations in the second half. I was really proud of how they stuck together and covered each other and made some big plays.”
This match is the third win in a row for Stanford, as the team continues to build momentum after a couple of setbacks against USC and Santa Clara, respectively. The team is not even operating at full strength, with senior midfielder Maya Doms working to come back from injury and sophomore midfielder Andrea Kitahata continuing to be away from the team.
Next up, the Cardinal will continue their home stand, facing off against No. 21 Washington State (8-2-2, 2-1-1 Pac-12) at noon on Sunday. The match is already sold out, and it is sure to be an exciting afternoon in Cagan.