Women’s soccer B-ruins UCLA’s perfect season, hands rival first loss on mental health awareness night

Oct. 16, 2022, 2:03 p.m.

At home in Cagan Stadium, the No. 9 Stanford women’s soccer team (12-2-1, 5-1 Pac-12) toppled the formerly undefeated No. 1 UCLA (13-1, 5-1 Pac-12). In a match that the team dedicated to former goalkeeper Katie Meyer, the 1-0 win was the cherry on top of the highly significant match for the Cardinal.

Sporting green headbands for mental health awareness, Stanford’s energy was palpable. Throughout the entire half, the top-10 teams exemplified beautiful soccer through and through. With back-and-forth play, the teams matched up almost perfectly evenly. Clean passing lent itself to possession-oriented play, and, despite the mere four total shots on goal in the half, the game was intense, and that held true throughout the half. It had fancy footwork, breakaways, dangerous counter-attacks, set pieces — all the ingredients for a thriller of a game, except a goal.

With one and a half minutes left in the half, Stanford earned itself a corner kick. Freshman forward Allie Montoya struck one near post, finding freshman defender Elise Evans. Turning away from the Bruin goalkeeper, Evans drove her shot to the far post and earned her second goal this season. 

As the No. 1 recruit of Class of 2026, Evans has proven herself invaluable to the Cardinal, starting every match and leading the team to eight shut-outs this season. 

As the second half got underway, the crisp passes of the first half turned to chippy efforts to dispossess. In the 58th minute, UCLA Ally Lemos earned herself a yellow, one of the two cards awarded throughout the match.

With the minutes passing, Stanford retreated, giving UCLA space and opportunities to tie up the match. The Bruins took every free kick as a set piece, gunning for goal. 

“We were on the defensive,” said Cardinal junior goalkeeper Ryan Campbell, “They were strong offensively.” 

Within the last 10 minutes, the goalkeeper was bombarded with a mix of shots and free kicks, including one right outside the box in the 80th minute. This set-piece, awarded alongside a yellow card to Cardinal sophomore defender Avani Brandt, was one of the Bruins’ best opportunities of the night. Still, Campbell ended the night with a clean sheet. 

“As long as I have the right mentality, I have the advantage,” Campbell described.

While players are ecstatic for the win, it was evident that this match meant more than the outcome. Commemorating Meyer, the Cardinal allowed their players to take a step back and “put things in perspective,” commented head coach Paul Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe has shown his undoubted support for the cause, also backing sophomore midfielder Andrea Kitahata in her decision to take the remainder of the season off to prioritize her mental health. 

“It’s time to start having these conversations,” Evans noted on behalf of her team. 

Overall, in a nail-biter of a match, Stanford pulled off the win, beating the Bruins 1-0. “It’s a huge win for us,” Ratcliffe commented after this “meaningful match.”

The Cardinal are back to action on Oct. 10 to face Oregon (4-5-4, 2-3 Pac-12) in Eugene, Ore. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. PT.

Samantha Leventis is a staff writer for the Stanford Daily sports section, who is a sophomore majoring in Symbolic Systems. Originally from Washington, D.C., Leventis is a supporter of the Washington Spirit and an even bigger fan of the Stanford women’s soccer team. You can find her soaking up the sun or attempting to surf as a newfound hobby. Contact her at sleventis ‘at’ stanforddaily.com

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