Junior Jordan DiBiasi found the back of the net twice on Friday as top-seeded Stanford women’s soccer (23-1-0) beat No. 5 South Carolina (19-3-1) 2-0 in Orlando, Florida. With this win, the Cardinal moves on to the College Cup Final where it will meet No. 3 Duke or No. 4 UCLA.
This game marked Stanford’s 19th shutout of the season, and ties the school record established in 2002. Throughout the season, the Cardinal have only conceded seven goals while scoring a program-record 88 times in 23 games. Moreover, the team outscored its opponents 18-1 so far in the postseason.
Sophomore Tegan McGrady and freshman Catarina Macario both had an assist in the first half as the Cardinal exerted a lot of offensive pressure on the Gamecocks. McGrady, who was at the start of both scoring plays, nicely set up DiBiasi’s 20th and 21st career goals, 12 of which are game winners. Of those 12, the junior has scored six deciding goals this season alone.
Stanford’s first goal came in the 10th minute of the game, when McGrady booted a free-kick from the sideline into the box. DiBiasi was there to put the ball inside the cage thanks to a diving header that she lodged near the bottom-right post.
McGrady once again started a scoring plays a little over a 15 minutes later when she launched Macario on the left side with a deep through pass. The freshman’s one-time hit found DiBiasi inside the box, and the junior was able to use a deflection from a Gamecock defender to fool keeper Mikayla Krzeczowski for the second time of the day.
“Two fantastic goals,” Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. “Like we’ve seen all year.”
Stanford almost added one more right after the intermission as Macario dribbled in traffic inside the box before firing towards the right side of the cage. Her shot hit the post and then Krzeczowski, who was able to quickly react and catch the ball as it was spinning past the goal line.
DiBiasi almost scored a third time on a curved ball from the left side of the box that flew just above the right corner of the Gamecock cage. McGrady and Macario also had shots at a third goal, but they could not get past Krzeczowski again despite two shots in the top corners of the goal.
Throughout the game, Stanford imposed its playstyle by holding the ball and dictating the pace of the game. Even with a 2-0 lead, the Cardinal kept attacking and forced South Carolina to play defensively for most of the game, ensuring that the Gamecocks wouldn’t have many opportunities to score. In the cage for the Cardinal, sophomore Alison Jahansouz was rarely in tough spots, and the Cardinal defense rolled to the shutout win.
This will be Stanford’s fourth trip to the College Cup championship game, as the Cardinal are looking to win their second-ever national title. The Cardinal’s only title came in their last appearance in the finals in the 2011 season, when they beat Duke 1-0.
Contact Alexandre Bucquet ‘at’ stanford.edu.