After its first regular-season loss in more than two years, No. 2 women’s soccer (6-1, 0-0 Pac-12) escaped the second half of its two-game Southern California road trip with a 1-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara (1-2-3, Big West) on Sunday.
Sophomore forward Sophia Smith scored in the 79th minute, ending 174:18 of scoreless play for the Cardinal across three games. Junior forward Catarina Macario sent a cross from the right corner along the surface and into the box, where Smith held off her defender to redirect the ball toward the back post. The assist was Macario’s fifth of the year, and the goal was Smith’s second.
“It was a good weekend for us to learn and grow,” said Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe. “I think we’re playing some good soccer but we need to finish more chances when we get them. Ultimately, though, we got the job done today thanks to a fantastic goal when we needed it.”
Stanford and UCSB were both coming off Friday games in which they dominated in the shot department but could not come away with a win. UCSB outshot Grand Canyon 21-5 in a 1-1 tie, and Stanford outshot Pepperdine 21-3 in a 1-0 loss. The story was similar for the Cardinal on Sunday, tallying 23 shots to the Gauchos’ one.
Redshirt freshman Katie Meyer earned the start and the shutout for Stanford without recording a save, as the Gauchos were unable to put a single shot on goal.
Junior forward Madison Haley tallied Stanford’s first shot in the fifth minute on a header from Macario’s corner kick.
Haley was awarded a penalty kick in the ninth minute after driving into the box and getting taken down trying to split a pair of defenders. UCSB keeper Hanna DeWeese guessed left and went early, but Haley was unable to adjust her shot and it was easily saved. The rebound fell to sophomore Abby Greubel in the box, and DeWeese stepped up once again for the save.
In the 17th minute, the Gauchos were whistled for handling at the top of the semicircle. The opportunity was offered to Macario, who missed wide left without testing DeWeese.
A minute later, senior forward Carly Malatskey was played into the box, but her volley sailed high.
Macario was played into the box in the 31st minute by junior midfielder Belle Briede, but she opted for a shot in place of a pass to central options. DeWeese was there for the Gauchos to prolong the clean sheet. Smith found herself on the ball three minutes later, but DeWeese managed another save, and Macario could not connect on the rebound.
Smith was gifted a wonderful opportunity on a breakaway, but even after bypassing DeWeese on the dribble, she missed an open net.
At halftime, Stanford led 10-1 in shots, including 4-0 in shots on goal, and took all three corners.
Four minutes into the second half, Stanford was awarded a free kick, which Macario lofted into the box. Sophomore center back Naomi Girma flicked the ball towards goal with her head, but the post had other plans.
With a nutmeg, Macario created a yard of space in the box, but her curled shot was denied by DeWeese on in the 55th minute. Macario delivered a ball into the box six minutes later, but Malatskey popped it over the crossbar.
The Cardinal had a run of four corner kicks in a span of five minutes, but could not convert. The Cardinal briefly thought they had a goal on the fourth chance, but the play was called back as redshirt freshman midfielder Sierra Enge found herself half a step offside.
Less than a minute after Smith’s goal, freshman Maya Doms looked for her own, but was denied by DeWeese. In the game’s final 10 seconds, Enge was played in for a one-on-one chance against DeWeese. Coming off her line, DeWeese recorded her career high eighth save.
Stanford possessed the ball for nearly the entire second half and sent forward junior right back Kiki Pickett, a Santa Barbara native, in search of opportunities. Pickett was the most valuable player for Dos Pueblos High School in her senior season and returned to play in front of her hometown fans at Theodore Harder Stadium.
Between freshmen and transfers, the Gauchos added 18 new players to this year’s roster. Somehow, an inexperienced Santa Barbara side pushed Stanford to its brink.
The Cardinal have a week to regroup before the next contest, an away match against Santa Clara on Sept. 22.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.