After overcoming UCLA two weeks ago in the Mountain Pacific Invitational Meet, Stanford (17-1) got ready to once again face the UCLA Bruins (19-2) this past weekend. In their penultimate match of the season, the No. 2 Cardinal were struck down for only the second time this season by the No. 4 seeded Bruins. From the start of play the Bruins came out strong and Stanford was fighting an uphill battle.
“The top 5 is the closest I’ve seen it, so any day can be anyone’s game, which means we that we need to stay sharp,” junior Bennett Williams said.
The Bruins opened the game with 3 goals scored in each quarter. By half-time the score was 6-2, Bruins leading. Red shirt sophomore Ben Hallock put up the two Cardinal goals.
In reference to the team’s approach to this matchup Williams said the players anticipated a strong offense, so they worked to ”gain energy from things like shot blocks, help defense and crashing and really rallying around your goalie.”
By the fourth quarter, the air had changed and the Cardinal started to gain momentum. In a nailbiter quarter, Stanford started to put some goals up bringing themselves back from a four-goal deficit. Senior Blake Parrish kicked off the flurry of Cardinal action in the fourth quarter with back to back goals. With spirits rising, Williams, channeling the defensive strategy referenced earlier, managed to steal the ball and converted that steal into a goal. Williams brought the Cardinal within arms reach of tying the game, just a one-point deficit with only about three minutes to go.
In an effort to emulate his buzzer beater goal in the Mountain Pacific Invitational match against UCLA, freshman Jackson Seybold launched a shot into the goal but missed. With seconds remaining the Cardinal continued the fight, but were defeated by the UCLA bruins. The final score of the match was 10-8.
Stanford’s next matchup is against the Berkeley Golden Bears Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12 p.m.
Contact Nandini Naidu at nnaidu ‘at’ stanford.edu