Stanford women’s soccer kicked off the defense of its four straight Pac-12 titles on a high note, as the No. 2 Cardinal (8-0-1, 1-0 Pac-12) buckled the Colorado Buffaloes (8-2, 0-1) in Boulder, Colo., by a score of 2-0 in both teams’ conference opener.
In doing so, the Cardinal continued to exert its dominance on its conference foes as it extended its conference winning streak to 43 games, which includes 23 road contests. Saturday’s result also marked the 13th straight year that the team has won its conference opener.
Freshman goalkeeper Jane Campbell had another strong match, keeping Colorado off the scoreboard for the entire game with two saves en route to earning a shutout. Meanwhile, Stanford received offensive contributions from its usual suspects, junior forward Taylor Uhl and senior forward Courtney Verloo, as the Cardinal scored two goals in the second half for the victory.
After neither team broke through in the first half, the Buffaloes almost struck first in the 51st minute when Colorado midfielder Madison Krauser slipped past the defense of senior forward Natalie Griffen and shot the ball just above the head of Campbell.
Although Campbell put her hands up for what should have been an easy save, the ball bounced off of her fingers and went over her head, seemingly destined for the back of the net. However, the quick-thinking goalkeeper averted a big mistake by quickly turning around and reaching back over her shoulder to grab the ball on a second attempt and keep the game scoreless.
After Campbell’s save, Stanford’s forwards took over quickly. In the 57th minute, Verloo — fresh off of a hat trick against Santa Clara — drilled the ball toward the goal from 25 yards out. Her shot bounced off of the fingertips of Colorado goalkeeper Annie Brunner before ricocheting off of the left goalpost and into the net for a 1-0 Cardinal lead.
Stanford narrowly avoided giving up a goal again in the 59th minute when a corner kick by the Buffaloes was headed towards the goal by forward Anne Stuller, catching Campbell and the entire Cardinal defense off guard save one defender, who deflected it away at the goal line.
Stanford quickly regained control, however, when Uhl continued her stellar season with her ninth goal of 2013, beating a defender and firing a pass from Verloo into the right side of the goal to put the Cardinal up 2-0 in the 67th minute.
The Cardinal cruised from then on out, allowing the Buffaloes to take only two more shots in the final 23 minutes as it dealt Colorado a loss in front of a crowd of over 1,500 to extend its winning streak to six matches.
The team will come home for five straight matches against Pac-12 opponents, including one of its biggest matches of the season against No. 4 UCLA. Before it takes on the Bruins, however, Stanford will have to get through both Arizona and Arizona State unscathed. The Cardinal will take on the Arizona Wildcats (5-2-3) at home Friday at 4 p.m.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.