By Cybele Zhang
On Friday, No. 1 Stanford women’s soccer (17-0-2, 10-0-1 Pac-12) defeated rival University of California (5-12-2, 1-9-1) 2-0 to secure the Pac-12 Conference Championship for the fourth consecutive year. To further cement their dominance in the conference, the Cardinal added another win on Sunday over Arizona State (10-7-1, 5-5-1), defeating the Sun Devils 4-1.
Senior midfielder Jordan DiBiasi was key to Stanford’s success on the road in this weekend. After leading the way all season for the Cardinal, the captain yet again delivered under pressure to score four goals in two games. Senior defender Alana Cook and DiBiasi are the only Stanford players to have started all 19 of the Cardinal’s matches this season.
Winning these final conference games, Stanford concludes its regular season undefeated for the second consecutive time and the ninth time ever. This is the Cardinal’s fourth undefeated season in program history; Stanford also boasted the achievement in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The only ties this season came to Santa Clara (16-3-1) in an out-of-conference game in September and Washington State (12-5-1, 5-5-1) in October. The Cardinal wrap up the regular season with a 51-9 goal differential.
Friday’s win against California gave Stanford the point margin in the Pac-12 to rise above both UCLA (14-3-1, 9-2-0) and USC (15-2-2, 8-2-1). Stanford now has 28 points while the Southern California teams have 27 and 25, respectively.
Stanford made an impact early against the Golden Bears, and its first chance came in the ninth minute when senior midfielder Michelle Xiao received a cross from sophomore defender/forward Jojo Harber. Xiao’s shot, however, narrowly missed, hitting the crossbar.
However, with the momentum in the Cardinal’s favor, it wasn’t long before they scored. Only a minute later, Cook passed DiBiasi a long ball over the top. DiBiasi executed a half volley to shoot the ball cleanly beyond Cal’s goalkeeper Olivia Sekany, raising the score to 1-0.
After another unsuccessful shot by Xiao, California countered with pressure. In the 34th minute, Cal’s forward Abi Kim made a run at goal, but her shot bounced off the crossbar.
Coming back from the half, the Cardinal again had a quick start. In the 48th minute, sophomore forward Civana Kuhlmann took an on-target shot from outside the box. However, Sekany stopped her shot short with a diving save.
But it was DiBiasi again, this time in the 55th minute, who put Stanford on the board. The goal doubled Stanford’s lead and was DiBiasi’s first two-goal performance since the Cardinal’s 2-0 win against South Carolina in the 2017 College Cup semifinal.
California tried repeatedly for a come back, but senior goalkeeper Alison Jahansouz secured the shoutout with impressive saves in both the 69th and 80th minutes.
“Today was indicative of the whole season — a complete team effort,” Knowles Family Director of Women’s Soccer Paul Ratcliffe said. “Congratulations to our senior class for winning four conference championships in a row. We’re excited to … get going in the postseason.”
With another victory and the conference title under its belt, Stanford traveled south to Tempe for its second Pac-12 showdown of the weekend.
Junior back-up goalkeeper Lauren Rood made her fourth start of the season and made a huge eighth-minute save to deny Sun Devil forward/midfielder Marleen Schimmer. The score remained tied 0-0 until DiBiasi again found the back of the net. This score came as a free kick from 25 yards into the top corner of the net in the 21st minute.
Back from the half, DiBiasi scored again in the 50th minute after a back-heel assist from Kuhlmann. This raised the score to 2-0 and marked DiBiasi’s 14th goal of her career.
Six minutes later, sophomore midfielder Belle Briede scored her second of the season. But immediately after, the Sun Devils bounced back, and Gemma Purfield scored with a 25-yard shot. This was only Stanford’s fourth conceded Pac-12 goal this season.
Kuhlmann scored again in the 71th minute to restore the Cardinal’s three-goal lead.
Now with the Pac-12 Conference Championship under their belt, the Cardinal look to continue their success into the postseason. Stanford is currently on a 41-game unbeaten streak, which is the sixth-longest in NCAA Division I history. Although NCAA Tournament seeds are not released until today at 1:30 p.m. PST, Stanford will almost certainly be ranked No. 1 overall for the third consecutive season.
Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu.