By Arman Kassam
No. 21 Stanford (10-4, 2-0, America East) travels to Sacramento for a battle against Pacific (8-6, 2-1, America East) this Friday. Expect a gritty struggle for redemption as Pacific attempts to overcome both their September 1-2 loss to the Cardinal and a recent 0-5 defeat to No. 29 William & Mary (7-5, 3-0, CAA). Despite some star performances, the Tigers’ record has been relatively mixed. On the other hand, Stanford has won 10 of their last 11 games with excellent plays from both veterans and young-guns.
This past Monday, the Cardinal secured a stunning 4-3 victory in shootouts over William & Mary. The Griffins’ junior midfielder Cassidy Goodwin set the tone for the game after finding the net twice within the first seven minutes – the Cardinal haven’t seen any other team come out firing so rapidly this season. This show of firepower definitely gave Stanford a scare, but there wasn’t anything stopping the Cardinal after they found their footing.
Stanford’s freshman defender Molly Redgrove put the Cardinal on the board, followed just five minutes later by sophomore attacker Corinne Zanolli. That was Zanolli’s 19th goal of the season, making her the third-highest scorer in the nation. However, just when Stanford thought that they were in the clear, the Griffins got the upper hand again after a goal from attacker/midfielder Annie Snead. It was thanks to junior attacker Jessica Welch and her second-period goal that the Cardinal were able to stay in the game at 3-3. Two scoreless overtime periods later, this spectacle of a match went into shootouts. Freshman midfielder Fenella Scutt and Zanolli were able to put in two goals while junior goalkeeper Kelsey Bing thwarted all four Griffin attempts. Bing made a series of gravity-defying saves throughout this past game and considering her record so far, she may fortify the Cardinal bulwark even more as Stanford heads into the last games of the season.
“It was great to see our young team battle back,” said Cardinal head coach Tara Danielson, adding that ,”Kelsey performed exactly as I would expect from one of the top goal keepers in the country. She played out of her mind.”
Now the Cardinal turn their attention to Pacific, a team that, although suffering from a recent 0-5 defeat to William & Mary, still have talent that will give Stanford a run for its money. The Tigers’ senior attacker Kriekie van Wyk has scored 11 goals this season, making for a total of 24 points. Her goal in the second round of shootouts against UC Davis (6-9, 0-3, America East) won Pacific their most recent victory. On top of goal-leader van Wyk, the Tigers have backing from sophomore goalkeeper Marlise van Tonder, who has earned a solid 0.758 save percentage this season. This veteran was also instrumental in launching Pacific into the America East championship game. It’s no surprise that back in June, van Tonder was selected to join the South African national team for the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup in London. Pacific clearly has no shortage of skill.
In their last confrontation back in September, Stanford and Pacific ended up 2-1. van Wyk scored the single point against the Cardinal in the second period while Stanford’s own Zanolli notched the game-winning goal. Although a victory for the Cardinal, the Orange and Black still made enough offensive plays to match Stanford in shots. Bing also had to pull off a series of awe-inspiring saves to preserve the Cardinal position. As usual, she ensured that the opposition did not drill into the outer wall of her impenetrable city. For the upcoming match, Stanford needs to press the Tiger offense while making sure that van Wyk and the Pacific front line don’t get all the chances they got last time. That being said, if worse comes to worst, we may get to see Kelsey Bing perform another miracle.
The battle for redemption begins this Friday at 3 p.m. PST in Sacramento.
Contact Arman Kassam at armank ‘at’ stanford.edu.