By Jack Seaton
The No. 4 Stanford women’s soccer team (12-1-2, 4-1-1 Pac-12) hit the road again for a Friday night matchup with the University of Arizona (9-4-1, 3-3). There have been contrasting fortunes in recent weeks for the two teams: The Cardinal are looking to seal their third straight win set against an Arizona team that is hoping to avoid their third straight defeat.
Although Arizona is coming off of a rough 6-0 loss last week against top-ranked UCLA, the tilt figures to be no walk in the park for Stanford. Freshman Gabi Stoian and senior Alexandra Doller have proven to be a formidable pair throughout the year for Arizona, with 14 of the team’s 26 goals and eight assists between the two. Stanford will need to capitalize on a recently shaky Wildcat defense, which has let in nine goals in the past three games after conceding only nine throughout the first 11. Arizona will be hoping to find the form they enjoyed earlier in the season in order to perhaps jump in-state rival Arizona State in the Pac-12 rankings by Monday.
Stanford, on the other hand, will be looking to continue its incredible defensive success that has proven decisive time and time again this season. With back-to-back clean sheets and an impressive record of only four goals conceded this season, the Cardinal defense and sophomore goalkeeper Jane Campbell will be aiming to smother the Arizona offense. Stanford has conceded those four goals on only 117 shots this season, allowing in a remarkably-low 0.27 goals per game while averaging 2.07 goals per game itself.
Offensively, the Card will be looking to repeat the ruthless performance they showed in their previous game versus Colorado. Coach Paul Ratcliffe will be counting on strong showings from last week’s goal scorers senior forwards Taylor Uhl and Lo’eau Labonta.
Following the Colorado game, Ratcliffe spoke about the impact that previous NCAA scoring leader Uhl could have on the remainder of the season if she can build on her goal from last week.
Goals have proven to come from all over the field for the Cardinal. Arizona will also have to control forwards and team points leaders sophomore forward Ryan Walker-Hartshorn and senior forward Chioma Ubogagu if they want to take anything from this match.
It is key that the Stanford women can fight complacency following a string of good results as they head into a busy weekend with two games within the next three days.
“We’re on the road, so we have to stay focused, start strong and see what we can do in the first game and then move on to the second game,” Ratcliffe remarked.
This match offers a critical opportunity for the Cardinal to build-up even more valuable momentum and hopefully three valuable Pac-12 points heading into the latter stage of the season and the playoffs.
The game starts against the Wildcats will begin at 7 p.m. and will be played at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.
Contact Jack Seaton at jrseaton ‘at’ stanford.edu.