By Jack Seaton
It was another smooth home game for the No. 4 Stanford women’s soccer team (12-1-2, 4-1-1 Pac-12) as they took down a strong Colorado Buffaloes (10-4, 3-3) squad in a 3-0 victory. After a loss to No. 1 UCLA last Thursday, the Cardinal have begun to rebuild momentum heading into the latter stages of the season.
The Stanford women proved dominant defensively and offensively under the lights at Cagan Stadium. The three Stanford goals complemented an impressive defensive display; Stanford did not allow a Colorado shot until the 77th minute. This was the team’s 12th shutout of the season, reflecting their consistent defensive prowess.
Senior forward Taylor Uhl opened up the scoring for Stanford in the 39th minute with a looping header over the Colorado keeper. Uhl’s first goal of the season sent the team into halftime with a well-deserved lead.
The Cardinal continued to push, outshooting Colorado by double digits before their second goal came in the 59th minute, when senior attacking midfielder Lo’eau Labonta hit a well-driven shot underneath the keeper to extend the lead and put an already unlikely Colorado comeback even further from reach.
Stanford continued to push, coming close on many occasions including a shot from senior forward Chioma Ubogagu that rattled the post in the 80th minute. Finally, the night was rounded off perfectly and the result was finalized with an 89th minute goal from senior Lauren Schmidt. This was the defender’s first goal for Stanford in one of her last games for the team. Schmidt’s positioning proved decisive as she capitalized on a rebound from sophomore forward Ryan Walker-Hartshorn’s shot that hit the woodwork.
Stanford goalkeeper Jane Campbell was only forced to make one save as the Cardinal outshot Colorado 19 to four by the time the final whistle blew. With the loss to UCLA still relatively fresh in the players’ minds, she said, “A goal is a goal, and we just have to be able to move past it whether we score it or get scored on and finish out games.”
The three goals from Stanford also marked the biggest loss of the season for a Colorado team that had only let up 10 goals all season.
Head coach Paul Ratcliffe reflected on a successful night for his team praising his team’s ability to grow into the game more and more as the night went on. Looking forward to the ending stages of the season, Ratcliffe believes that Uhl, who led the Pac-12 in scoring last season, could make the difference. He said, “If we get her hot at the end, she’d be fantastic to bring in and make a big impact.”
It was a special night for Schmidt, who remained humble after opening up her Stanford scoring account to the delight of the entire team.
“My teammates set it up for me so perfectly. They did all the hard work and I just had to tap it in,” said Schmidt.
“Lauren is an amazing player,” Ratcliffe said. “She has worked so hard in her whole career and I’m really happy to see her get a goal and in a Pac-12 game, a significant game.”
Stanford moves up to first in the Pac-12, ahead of a UCLA team that still has two games in hand. The Cardinal are now off for a week before they head to Tucson, Ariz. next Friday for a matchup against Arizona.
Contact Jack Seaton at jrseaton ‘at’ stanford.edu.