Continuing its dominance with another strong road performance, the No. 1 Stanford women’s soccer team moved one step closer to a Pac-12 title this weekend, beating Arizona State 3-1 on Friday and extending its conference win streak to 26 games.
The road trip, however brief, was encouraging for a Cardinal team (14-0-1, 6-0 Pac-12) that could have had a letdown after a 4-1 win over perennial contender UCLA last Sunday. Instead, Stanford’s top contributors did their jobs against the struggling Sun Devils (6-8, 2-4 Pac-12), with the seniors combining for 10 of the squad’s 15 shots and the Cardinal’s top-four scorers posting one point each.
Stanford now only needs to go 3-1-1 down the stretch to clinch a share of the Pac-12 title. With five games remaining in conference play, the Cardinal’s remaining opponents have, on average, won just a third of their Pac-12 matches this season.
Those teams will have to deal with the increasingly impressive scoring duo of seniors Teresa Noyola and Lindsay Taylor, who have found the net a combined 16 times this season and connected against Arizona State for the second time in as many games. Each forcing tough saves early on for junior Sun Devil goalkeeper Alyssa Gilmore, the pair opened the scoring in the 25th minute when a Noyola free kick resulted in a header goal by Taylor. The tally gave Noyola her 34th career assist and put her within seven helpers of Christen Press’s school record, set a year ago.
Nine minutes after Taylor’s opening goal, freshman forward Chioma Ubogagu got hold of a deflected clearing attempt and made the score 2-0 with a quick left-footer.
In the second half, the task fell to junior forward Marjani Hing-Glover, making her first start of the season and the fifth of her career just a few miles from her hometown, Scottsdale, Ariz. A cross from sophomore forward Natalie Griffen in the 78th minute set up a one-timer by Hing-Glover, who found the far post for her fifth goal of the year.
With the game getting out of reach, head coach Paul Ratcliffe substituted liberally throughout: a total of 21 Cardinal players saw action, with none of them playing fewer than 10 minutes.
Resting sophomore starting goalkeeper Emily Oliver–who only had to make one save on the night–Ratcliffe turned to redshirt sophomore goalie Aly Gleason for her sixth appearance of the season. Gleason was unable to stop an 88th-minute penalty kick, the Sun Devils’ only goal, by redshirt sophomore Nicki Stone. The penalty came off a hand-ball call in the box just after an Arizona State corner kick.
Stanford returns home next weekend to face new Pac-12 additions Utah and Colorado at Cagan Stadium. The Utes, who face the Cardinal on Friday at 7 p.m., are currently tied for third place in the conference, while the Buffaloes may still be hoping to notch their first-ever Pac-12 win in the Sunday matinee.