Before taking the pitch against rival Cal, the Stanford Cardinal were in a good position. Riding the momentum of a 5-0 thumping of Central Michigan, the Card steeled for a tough match against the Golden Bears. Cal marked Stanford’s toughest division competition, and Stanford looked to record their sixth straight win against the school across the Bay.
The game opened with true tenacity as both teams fought for position and control in the opening minutes. It was Cal that settled into a groove first, maintaining possession and working the ball down in the Cardinal defense.
For the first 14 minutes, Stanford’s defense held tight. Junior goalkeeper Dulcie Davies logged four saves in the first half, but in the 15th minute, Cal managed to get on the scoreboard. The Bears earned a penalty corner, which started the scoring play. Junior defender Clara Goni rifled a shot in, on frame, but it was knocked away by Davies. Goni gained control of the ball again and sent in another strike. Freshmen attacker Paula Seibt, originally from Hamburg, Germany, managed to get a tip, tapping the ball into the back of the net.
For almost five minutes Cal held the lead, but the Cardinal fought back. Earning a penalty corner of their own — courtesy of the phenomenal stick work of senior Alex McCawley — Stanford evened the score. The ball was sent to redshirt senior Elise Ogle, who pushed it left to sophomore Fran Tew. Tew rocketed a shot on target. Bears redshirt senior goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson managed to get a touch on a dive, but the ball deflected off her and into the cage to make the game 1-1.
Play continued in a stalemate for 12 more minutes, but the Cardinal displayed a fiery offensive showcase. The Bears remained resilient, however, until Clemence Couteau broke the draw with three minutes left in the half. Kasey Quo fed Couteau a pass, which she touched to her backhand, opening up more space in the circle. A beautiful reverse chip ensued and Couteau celebrated her second game-winning goal of the season (her first came Sept. 4 against the University of Maine). As the team lit up with excitement, it seemed impossible for Cal to be able to counter Stanford’s energy and momentum. As the halftime whistle blew, Stanford was all smiles.
The Bears did not roll over, however, and came out of halftime passionate and determined. Stanford persevered, remaining disciplined on defense and sharp on attack. Keeping Cal to one shot and no penalty corners in the second half was the difference for Stanford, which stayed threatening. Though none came to fruition, Stanford recorded three more shots and penalty corners in the scoreless second half. Hendrickson made her second save and midfielder Michaela Swensen denied a Cardinal attempt to keep the score sheet blank.
The lack of goals was not indicative of a lack of passion, however, as both teams continued to play hard, even being carded. Stanford’s Lauren Becker received a yellow card in the 52nd minute of play, and both Tew and Cal’s Lara Kruggel were booked in the 68th.
Despite having to play seven minutes a player down, Stanford hung on to improve to 8-1 (2-0 NorPac). The win marked its sixth straight against Cal and the 15th in the last 19 matchups. Stanford’s next test will be perhaps its toughest of the year as it travels to the University of Connecticut to challenge the defending national champions.
Contact Carlie Tenenbaum at carliet ‘at’ stanford.edu.