In front of a crowded audience at Cagan Stadium, No. 14 Stanford women’s soccer (11-2-1, 3-1-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 21 Washington State (8-3-2, 2-2-1), earning the game-deciding goal in the 76th minute thanks to a spectacular off-foot shot from junior forward Samantha Williams. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read Home: 2, Away: 1.
Washington State looked to have a firm grasp of the game flow for the first few minutes, holding almost all the early possession time. Not budging, Stanford’s defense took over, allowing the team to dominate the ball for much of the first half. After a few missed opportunities, the Cardinal got their first good look in the 15th minute. A through ball to freshman forward Lumi Kostmayer led to another pass across the box to freshman forward Allie Montoya, giving Stanford what appeared to be the first goal of the match. The crowd stood on their feet, but the referee debated with the linesman for several minutes before deciding instead it was offsides.
Despite the call, Stanford picked their pace up and got on the board with a goal from freshman midfielder Jasmine Aikey in the 28th minute. Taking a free kick from the left side outside of the box, she snuck the shot over a wall of defenders and past the goalkeeper, hitting her mark in the upper left corner of the goal.
“All the ones I missed in practice paid off, honestly,” Aikey said with a smile. ”Just, you know, really happy to get the goal, especially after our first one was disallowed.”
Shortly after, Washington State picked up momentum and scored their first goal. With people crowding the box, they were able to get one past junior goalkeeper Ryan Campbell, marking the first goal Stanford has allowed since Sept. 23 when they played against USC.
The Cardinal held possession of the ball for most of the second half, but for most of that time, they were not able to capitalize.
“I think obviously I want to finish more of our chances,” said head coach Paul Ratcliffe. “Because we are creating great chances.”
However, in the 76th minute with a ball set downfield, Williams raced past the last line of defense, getting to the ball before making a move. With one dribble, the forward made her opponent fall, then scored from the near post. Cheers erupted from the crowd and a wild frenzy of excitement washed over Cagan Stadium.
“I was able to get the cut and then I saw the opening near post and I took it,” Williams said. “But we work on that shot a lot in practice, so it was nice to execute today.”
The Cardinal finished the game doing a good job of framing the goals and establishing themselves as a scoring threat with a total of 22 shots. Stanford played out the rest of the game strongly, with the defense refusing to give up any goals. The score held, and the Cardinal won 2-1.
This marks the team’s fourth straight win. Up next, the team will take on No. 1 UCLA (12-0-0, 4-0-0 Pac-12), who sits atop the Pac-12 rankings one spot ahead of Stanford.
“It’s a big game for us,” Aikey said. “We have it at Cagan. I’m just excited to be out with fans and, you know, give our all as a team. It’s gonna be fun.”
The game is set for 6 p.m. on Friday at Cagan Stadium.