I will never forget my first Stanford women’s soccer match, a 7-0 win against Arizona in which six Cardinal players scored and starting goalie Emily Oliver didn’t face a single shot before being pulled in the 58th minute. I was only a first-week freshman, but I could tell that was pretty darn good.
Over two years have passed since that match, and Stanford women’s soccer is as dominant as ever. But the No. 2 Cardinal did something on Sunday night that I’ve never witnessed, no current Daily staffer has ever witnessed and, most likely, no current undergrad has ever witnessed.
Stanford women’s soccer lost at home.
Before the Cardinal’s 1-0 overtime defeat at the hands of Arizona State on Sunday, Stanford’s last home loss came in November 2007. For a little perspective, that’s when Jim Harbaugh was in the middle of his first season as the school’s head football coach — and Miley Cyrus was in the middle of her second season as the star of Hannah Montana.
In the nearly six years since that loss, the Cardinal has won its first College Cup, taken home three consecutive Hermann Trophies and dominated just about everyone who has dared brave the Farm. Other streaks were snapped on Sunday as well, among them the team’s 44-match winning streak in conference play, but none of them was as impressive as Stanford’s perfect defense of its home turf. Seventy teams had filed into Cagan — both the old stadium and its renovated counterpart — and 70 had been sent packing.
“I don’t think [the streak] will be replicated,” head coach Paul Ratcliffe told GoStanford.com on Sunday. But even though so many intangibles had to come together for Stanford to go on its 70-match, 70-month run, it’s not hard to quantify just how incredible the streak was. Consider:
70-0-3: Stanford’s home record between its losses to Connecticut (Nov. 23, 2007) and Arizona State (Oct. 6, 2013). Only North Carolina’s 84-match home unbeaten streak, dating from 1986-94, tops the Cardinal’s 73-match run in Division I women’s soccer history. Another prominent Cardinal team, women’s basketball, holds the second-longest home winning streak in the Division I history of its own sport (82 games). That run also began in 2007, and it was also bookended by a loss to UConn — though the Huskies beat the Cardinal at the end, not the beginning, of the streak.
2.79: Average margin of victory for the Cardinal at home during the streak. Stanford scored at least three goals in 45 of those 73 matches, all the while allowing just 30 goals at Cagan in six years. By contrast, the Cardinal men’s soccer team has given up 30 goals at home in just two years, dating back to Oct. 14, 2011.
46: The number of shutouts recorded by the Cardinal at Cagan during that stretch. How tough is that to pull off in just 73 matches? As a rough comparison, only 10 goalies in MLS history have recorded more than 46 shutouts over their careers, and each of them has played in at least 189 matches.
14: Number of one-goal wins by Stanford at Cagan during the streak. The Cardinal won three of those matches in overtime, including the Elite Eight win against Oklahoma State in the middle of Stanford’s 2011 College Cup run.
Ratcliffe is right that the Cardinal probably won’t be able to duplicate its historic run; the team lost again last night to No. 2 UCLA on its home turf. But in any case, it’s going to be at least six more years before Stanford women’s soccer can top its own impressive feat. On a campus so full of greatness that it’s easy to let events like this slip through the cracks, let’s take a second to simply recognize the enormity of Stanford women’s soccer’s accomplishment.
Few teams in the country have been this dominant for this long. We can put up with a loss every now and then.
Joseph Beyda’s streak of consecutive columns without an em-dash remains at zero. Give him ideas of other grammatical tools at jbeyda ‘at’ stanford.edu.