Top-ranked Stanford women’s soccer (13-1-0, 6-0-0 Pac-12) dominated the shot count throughout the game before finally cashing in a late goal to escape with a 1-0 victory over Washington (9-4-2, 2-2-2) in Cagan Stadium Friday night.
The win was Stanford’s eleventh in a row. During that stretch, the team has outscored opponents 44-2. The prowess on the scoreboard is also reflected on the statsheet, as Stanford leads the nation in goals, assists, shots and points.
The Cardinal racked up 26 shots in the game, slightly above their NCAA-leading average of 25.54 per game. However, the stout Washington defense made it tough to turn those shots into goals until junior forward Kyra Carusa broke through in the 86th minute.
Carusa, the second-leading goal scorer in the Pac-12, scored off assists from two midfielders, sophomore Tierna Davidson and junior Michelle Xiao. Davidson passed through multiple defenders to Xiao, who then sent a cross to Carusa in the box. As Washington senior goalkeeper Sarah Shimer sprinted out to stop the shot, Carusa tapped the ball past her for the redirect goal.
“As soon as she ran down the sideline, I knew that ball was coming to me,” Carusa said about her goal. “I told myself no matter what, it’s going in the back of the net.” Carusa, the team’s top-scorer, has now made 10 goals this season.
Despite not scoring until late in the game, Stanford thoroughly commanded possession throughout. The squad exercised patience in its offensive approach in response to Washington’s style of attacking defense. Carusa described the Cardinal game plan as, “trying to pass Washington out of the game.”
The solid offensive performance was complemented by another suffocating defensive effort by Stanford. The Cardinal recorded their fifth straight shutout and eleventh on the season. They lead the Pac-12 in goals against average, having only allowed five scores total thus far.
Sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Rood made a critical save in the 86th minute to preserve the shutout and protect Stanford’s recently acquired lead. Rood stuck out her left leg while falling to block the shot attempt by Washington senior forward Kimberly Keever. In total, Rood made three saves on the night. She’s been even more stingy than her team, only allowing one goal this year.
Her Washington counterpart Shimer had a similarly strong performance, despite facing nearly four times as many shots. Shimer made nine saves, including an incredible leaping effort to deny a header from Stanford junior defender Alana Cook in the 70th minute.
Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe credited Shimer’s performance postgame, saying, “We created some great chances, and in all fairness, I thought their goalkeeper made some spectacular saves.”
A number of those difficult saves came on shots from Stanford freshman forward Catarina Macario. The Pac-12 leader in shots added a remarkable 12 attempts to her total, including five on goal. Multiple of her first half shots forced Shimer into leaping saves. Even though she was unable to convert against Washington, she still ranks third in goals among freshmen nationally.
Stanford’s win was not the only good news for the program this week. On Wednesday, senior midfielder Andi Sullivan was called up to the United States women’s national team for the third time in her career. Of the 22 players selected for the team, Sullivan is the only current college player.
“It’s a great opportunity and a dream come true for her,” Ratcliffe said. “I think she’ll do fantastic.”
Ratcliffe’s team will face their next two opponents without the services of Sullivan, as she will be competing with the national team on the same dates.
Stanford plays Oregon at 6 p.m. on Thursday night. The match will be the second-leg of a three game home stand for the Cardinal.
Contact King Jemison at kingj ‘at’ stanford.edu.