In another jam-packed weekend for Stanford Athletics, both soccer teams, field hockey and women’s volleyball continued their non-conference schedules. Men’s soccer and field hockey had strong performances, going a combined 5-0, while volleyball and women’s soccer each lost one game, volleyball against unranked UNC and soccer against top-10-ranked Penn State.
Men’s soccer extends undefeated streak to five games
The No. 13 Stanford men’s soccer team (5-1, 0-0 Pac-12) picked up a pair of victories over the weekend, continuing its strong start to the season.
On Thursday night, the Cardinal edged out San Jose State 1-0 at home on a goal in the 33rd minute by sophomore forward Foster Langsdorf. It was Stanford’s fourth straight shutout and yet another tremendous showing by Andrew Epstein and the Stanford defense.
The turning point in the match came when sophomore Corey Baird found Langsdorf on a beautiful feed. It was the second assist by Baird on a Langsdorf goal in as many games.
“It was good pressure from the forwards getting into one of the defensive midfielders, something we really work on,” Baird said. “I was able to pick off a ball and Foster made a great run.”
Although the score was tight, Stanford was in control for the whole game. They outshot the Spartans 22 to 7, despite the fact that only one of those 22 made it in.
On Sunday, the Cardinal traveled to Texas to take on SMU and prevailed 3-2 in extra time. After cruising to a 2-0 lead on goals from Brandon Vincent and Jordan Morris, Stanford uncharacteristically allowed two goals in one period and snapped its nearly 470-minute long shutout streak.
However, even when things got tense in a 2-2 tie, someone was able to step up once again. This time, it was Eric Verso, who scored in the 108th minute to send Stanford home.
Head coach Jeremy Gunn was pleased with the resiliency that his team showed in the victory.
“When your opponent gets back level after you’re up two goals, that’s a time when a team can fold,” Gunn said. “It’s a great compliment that we were ready to keep playing, keep chasing the game and keep looking for the win.”
Stanford will now head back home, playing a pair of games this weekend against San Francisco and Davidson before starting conference play in early October.
Women’s soccer suffers first loss of season against Penn State
The No. 2 Stanford women’s soccer team (5-1, 0-0 Pac-12) wasn’t able to go undefeated in a tough non-conference schedule, falling to No. 7 Penn State 2-0 for its first loss of the season.
On paper, it was a confusing game for Stanford to lose. The Cardinal outshot the Nittany Lions 16-4 and had a time possession advantage of about 15 minutes. Stanford seemed to have control for most of the game, but greatly suffered from an inability to capitalize and some momentary lapses of which Penn State took advantage.
One of those momentary lapses came in the 10th minute, when Penn State’s Frannie Crouse bounced one in off the right post to put Penn State up 1-0. After an otherwise quiet first period, Brittany Basinger extended the lead to two goals on a cross from Crouse. Those two goals were enough to seal it for Penn State.
“The thing you learn a lot from the college game is how much every second of every game means,” said sophomore Andi Sullivan, who had two of Stanford’s four shots on goal. “Big games like this aren’t won across the whole spectrum, they’re won in tiny seconds where you could have done something more. You could have dug a little deeper.”
Stanford was able to rebound from the loss with a 2-1 win at home against Oklahoma on Sunday.
After Haley Rosen put the Cardinal up with a goal in the fourth minute, the game was relatively quiet until Oklahoma’s Kaylee Dao responded with a header in the 87th minute.
From there, the game entered overtime, where Stanford prevailed on a goal from Tegan McGrady assisted by Rosen.
Although his relatively young team still has a lot to learn, head coach Paul Ratcliffe is pleased with how his players have progressed. As he said after the Penn State game, “They played well and they’re continuing to grow with each game, and that’s the most important thing.”
The Cardinal will play UC Davis this Thursday and then face Santa Clara on Sunday before starting conference play.
Volleyball stumbles, loses to unranked UNC before pulling out a five-set win over Duke
Eighth-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball’s recovery from the team’s loss to No. 1 Penn State last week did not go as planned. On Thursday, the Cardinal were swept by an unranked UNC team and had to fight five sets to earn a win against Duke on Friday.
The loss to UNC was Stanford’s first loss to an unranked opponent since 2012 and marked the first time in John Dunning’s 15-year tenure as head coach that he has gone 0-2 in back-to-back matches
Errors were a problem from the start in the first set against UNC, who won their first point after a service error from freshman libero Halland McKenna. Over the entire game, the team would make 21 total attack errors and 9 service errors before the Tar Heels would leave Carmichael Arena with a 25-17, 27-25, 25-22 victory.
U.S. national team member and freshman standout Hayley Hodson, who had led the team with 16 kills against Penn State, had her first poor game of the year, marking a -.087 attacking percentage.
Early on in the first set, Stanford kept the Tar Heels in check and did not let them creep too far ahead. However, UNC began to separate themselves from the Cardinal after a four-point streak from an ace, a kill and two Cardinal errors, putting the Tar Heels up 10-6.
In the second set, Stanford continued to tally up errors, but found a way to jump ahead for a 21-14 lead. After a service error from sophomore Sarah Benjamin, UNC got back in their rhythm and made three consecutive kills followed by two more Stanford attacking errors.
UNC tied the game at 24 points and pulled out a win after Stanford lost the match point on a Hodson attack error.
Although Stanford cleaned up its game and made only 7 total errors in the last set, UNC held Stanford to just a .150 attack percentage.
At the last moment it looked like Stanford might come through and win the set after it put together a four-point streak, including three consecutive kills from senior Brittany Howard, to bring the game to 23-22.
But after a block by UNC’s Hayley McCorkle and Paige Neuenfeldt and a kill by McCorkle, UNC completed their sweep.
Fortunately, Stanford was able to come away with a victory against unranked Duke on Friday to pull the Cardinal out of their slump, but the win wasn’t pretty and it was a full five sets (25-17, 22-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-10) before the Cardinal could break the Blue Devils.
Hodson was also able to reestablish herself as a team leader as she posted 17 kills, a career high.
The team also significantly cleaned up its game for the Friday match against Duke, posting only 14 attacking errors throughout all five sets. Duke, on the other hand, posted 32 errors.
Even though the Blue Devils finished the game with 71 kills and 108 digs versus Stanford’s 59 kills and 84 digs, Duke was unable to play a clean game and handed the Cardinal a much-needed win.
The team returns to Maples Pavilion to host Pacific on Friday, Sept. 18 and St. Mary’s of California on Saturday, Sept. 19. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.
Field hockey continues hot streak
Fifth-ranked Stanford field hockey (6-1) took all three of its games in Iowa City, IA late last week, including a come-from-behind 3-2 win against No. 15 Iowa on Thursday.
The Cardinal’s other two games, a clinical 7-0 performance against St. Louis on Saturday and a 4-2 victory over Kent State on Sunday, featured neither the late dramatics nor the NCAA Tournament-quality opponent of Thursday’s game.
The Cardinal, who scored just 5 goals in its first four games, struck first on the scoreboard when junior Fran Tew’s shot found the back of the net. Despite the strong start, Stanford was on the defensive for most of the game, conceding 17 shots and 11 penalty corners to the Hawkeyes.
Senior goalkeeper Dulcie Davies was well up to the task, making 9 saves and keeping the Cardinal in the game in the first half.
The Hawkeyes’ offensive pressure finally broke through the stout Cardinal defense in the second half with 2 quick goals. In the 59th minute, Stanford equalized on the strength of creative play from Maddie Secco. The senior midfielder, who leads the team in both goals and assists, set up defender Jessica Chisholm on a penalty corner to tie the score at 2.
Chisholm’s goal set up an intense end to the game that broke in Stanford’s favor at the last possible second. After earning a penalty corner with a second remaining on the clock, Chisholm’s shot rebounded off the Hawkeyes’ goalkeeper and onto Marissa Cicione’s stick. The sophomore attacker poked it into the net with no time remaining, securing an exhilarating win for the Cardinal.
The Cardinal finished their trip to Iowa with two more games against Midwestern foes. Stanford proved its offensive woes were in the past with an impressive attacking display against St. Louis.
Two goals each from Tew and senior attacker Lauren Becker led to a comfortable afternoon for the Cardinal, who took 35 shots and gave Davies the second half off.
The Cardinal faced more excitement than expected in a narrower win over Kent State the next day. After taking a quick 3-0 lead in the first half, Stanford faced a barrage of shots from the unheralded Flashes in the second half. Davies’ 14 saves, most of which came late in the game, was a season-high and two shy of her career-best.
Stanford returns home for the Big Game against rival Cal on Friday.