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Undefeated women’s soccer hosts Penn, San Jose State in first home matches

Junior forward Catarina Macario (above) was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after scoring twice in No. 3 Stanford's 2-1 season opening victory at No. 6 Penn State. (AL CHANG/isiphotos.com)

No. 3 Stanford (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) women’s soccer, fresh off a pair of wins over ranked opponents, returns to Cagan Stadium for the first time since the NCAA tournament quarterfinals to host Pennsylvania (0-0, 0-0 Ivy) and San Jose State (0-0-2, 0-0-0 MW) over the weekend. The Cardinal will look to extend a 29-game home unbeaten streak and secure Paul Ratcliffe’s 300th victory as head coach — he is two short.

Friday will mark Stanford’s first-ever meeting with a Penn team on the rise. The Quakers earned a share of the Ivy league title last year, but a loss on the final day of the season to No. 24 Princeton keeping them out of the postseason. Penn was picked to finish second in their conference in the Ivy League Poll.  

Penn head coach Nicole Van Dyke is familiar with the Farm after spending three seasons as assistant head coach and then a final year as the associate head coach under Paul Ratcliffe. In that span, the team went 81-9-7 and won the national championship in 2011. 

California is a theme for the Quakers, who drew 15 student-athletes, half their roster, from the Golden State. Assistant coach Mellissa Phillips was the Cal State Bakersfield head coach from 2011 until moving to Penn in 2015, and assistant Lizzy Johnson spent eight years between San Mateo County Football Club and San Bruno Lowen Soccer Club.

It was however a native of Penn forward Emily Sands, who scored seven game-winning goals last year for the third-highest tally in the country. Sands looks to lead the offense once again in the season opener, but Penn will rely more on its defense. The Quakers allowed just five goals in 2018 and led the nation in goals against average (.30), save percentage (.924) and shutout percentage (.75) with 12 in 16 matches.

The defensive prowess is in large part due to first-team All-Ivy goalkeeper Kitty Qu. The San Mateo High goal-stopper is now in her fourth year as the starter.

San Jose State will play a similar defensive style. Last week’s openers, at home vs. Cal Poly and on the road at UC Santa Barbara, ended in double-overtime scoreless draws.

Ariana Romero, a transfer from Seattle University, was in net for both shutouts. 

The Spartans head coach Lauren Hanson has compiled an all-time record of 49-35-21, which is just five short of the school record. The roster of entirely Californians lost three of its seven goal scorers from a season ago. Altogether, San Jose State jetted just 16 goals, but on the strength of its defense managed a winning record. 

The Spartans’ top scorer was forward Jamilecxth Becerra, who is now a senior. The second-leading scorer, Darriell Franklin, has graduated and is now the program’s director of operations.

Stanford is a perfect 5-0-0 all-time against San Jose State and does not have a problem scoring. The Cardinal scored five goals over the weekend, led by Pac-12 player of the week Catarina Macario’s two-goal performance in the win over Penn State. The most recent game against an unranked opponent, however, was a 7-0 victory over Missouri in the preseason. 

Stanford punishes inferior opponents, and this weekend could be more of the same. In front of a sell-out crowd on Friday and making a statement against a local opponent on Sunday, the Cardinal could add to their already impressive season highlight reel. 

Through two games, Stanford has used two goalkeepers, and both senior Lauren Rood and redshirt freshman Katie Meyer allowed a goal. The backline has remained constant and has possessed nicely, but Ratcliffe has been mixing around the midfield and forward lines to find the optimal alignment.  

The Friday night matchup with Penn kicks off at 7 p.m. PT. San Jose State will come to the Farm at 6 p.m. PT on Sunday.

Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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