Silence filled the women’s locker room at Cagan Stadium Monday afternoon as the women’s soccer team watched No. 10 Stanford (13-5-1, 6-5-0 Pac-12) draw a match against CSU Fullerton (8-6-7), the Big West tournament champions, in the first round of the NCAA Division I postseason tournament to be played Friday at home.
The No. 10 Stanford women’s soccer team (9-3-1, 2-3-0 Pac-12) goes up against unranked Utah (7-2-5, 3-1-1) Friday night in the final match of its five-game homestead.
Not only will it attempt to restart the team’s historic success in a win against the Utes, but also it will do so in front of over 60 of the program’s alumnae, who will be honored in a halftime ceremony as part of Homecoming Weekend.
For most teams, an overtime loss in the NCAA semifinals to the eventual champions would make for a successful end to the season. Most teams, however, aren’t like Stanford women’s soccer. The Cardinal has appeared in five straight NCAA College Cups dating back to 2008, and after winning the national championship in 2011, falling short in 2012 was a tough pill to swallow.
It was this time nearly a year ago. A battle-tested Stanford women’s soccer team had set out to capture the school’s first national championship, having faltered in the Final Four in each of the past three seasons and in the title match in each of the past two.