It was back-and-forth early, but Catarina Macario’s free kick goal in the 77th minute squashed the chances of upstart Santa Clara on Sunday evening. With the score locked at two, the junior midfielder floated a ball into the back of the net, and keeper Courtney Ogren could do nothing but watch.
In the latest installment of a local rivalry, No. 3 Stanford (7-1, 0-0 Pac-12) travelled to Santa Clara (4-5, 0-0 WCC) and ran away with a 4-2 win. It was the first time since 2014 that the margin of victory in the matchup was more than a single goal.
Sophomore forward Sophia Smith opened the scoring in the 21st minute, securing an open look on goal off a deflection and a pass from Macario. At the time, Smith had scored the last three Cardinal goals, as she found the back of the net in three of the four matches since returning from injury. The assist was Macario’s team-high sixth of the season, while the start was the first for Smith in 2019.
Santa Clara was poised to answer two minutes later, beating senior goalkeeper Lauren Rood, but the leadup to the final pass was deemed offside.
Stanford created an opportunity to pull away in the 30th minute, when Macario found sophomore Abby Greubel, who played Smith, but the shot went high. Instead, it was the Broncos finding an equalizer in the 39th minute.
Junior defensive midfielder Belle Briede was called for a foul immediately outside of the box and shown a yellow card. The free kick was deflected out of play by Macario, but the ensuing corner kick was never fully cleared, and defender Machaela George was in the right place to knock in the goal.
“We know how to play them,” George said. “We’re confident going against them. Other Santa Clara teams have paved the way forward for us to do well.”
The lead was short-lived, as senior forward Carly Malatskey scored 31 seconds later to pull Stanford ahead 2-1. Smith found no one on her cross, but Malatskey was there on the other side to slip the ball past the keeper at the near post. Malatskey is currently second on the team with six goals in a standout senior season.
At the break, Stanford tallied eight shots, putting five on goal to Santa Clara’s six, with only the one on frame. The atmosphere at Buck Shaw Stadium was vibrant as students at Santa Clara, another quarter-system school, returned to campus before Monday classes.
Stanford committed a pair of fouls that were both awarded yellow cards in the beginning moments of the second half. Junior forward Madison Haley was cautioned in the 49th minute, and freshman midfielder Maya Doms was shown her yellow card after a late challenge in the 52nd minute.
The run of play continued against the Cardinal as the Broncos’ Kelsey Turnbow beat her defender and finished in the top right to once again bring the game level. Off of the Doms foul, Santa Clara connected with Turnbow on a long pass through the air, who then turned around two Stanford defenders to create space for the score, her seventh of the season. The two scores were the most for a Stanford opponent this season.
“I’m really proud of our effort today, to score two goals against Stanford,” said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith, who is in his 33rd year at the helm. “To be down 1-0 and tie the game up at 2-1 showed great character from our group.”
After the card, Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe could have decided to replace Doms with a substitute. Instead, the freshman took a crack in the 60th minute that was saved by the keeper. On the night, 14 Cardinal appeared in the match as Ratcliffe used just three options off of the bench.
Stanford kept pressure on the Broncos, and George was shown a yellow card in the 61st minute after taking down Smith close to the penalty area. Macario opted for a pass on the free kick, but the ball glanced off the head of sophomore center back Naomi Girma and did not test Ogren.
Defender Emma Reeves was shown the second Santa Clara yellow in the 65th minute, but the Broncos pressed on and forward Kaile Halvorsen took a shot that Rood managed to save in the 67th minute, her first of the night. Rood’s second save came soon after in the 74th minute on an effort by midfielder Izzy D’Aquila, the team’s leading scorer.
Each team appeared to have a chance in the 74th minute to pull ahead, first when Smith slipped Doms into the box, but the freshman was unable to get off a shot. On the counterattack, Rood was caught out of position, and forward Julie Doyle tried to beat her from distance, but the shot curved wide.
The defining moment of the match came after a caution shown to midfielder Alex Loera. At 25 yards from goal, Macario connected perfectly on a free kick to put Stanford ahead for good in the 77th minute, and record her tenth of the season after a two game lull.
Seven minutes later, Haley iced the game with a goal. Greubel beat a pair of defenders on the dribble, then threaded the needle to connect with Haley on a through pass into the box. Haley did the rest, notching her third goal of the season in the process. Each keeper was forced to make one more save, elevating their total to a season-high matching six and three for Ogren and Rood, respectively.
“When we’re late in the game and we’re down a goal, we throw everything except the kitchen sink forward, and they countered us,” Jerry Smith said.
Although the Broncos took two of the three first half corners, the Cardinal earned all six in the second half. Stanford also wound up with the lead in shots, 17-12, and shots on goal, 10-5. The result was secured by Stanford, who improved to 19-20-6 all-time against Santa Clara.
“It was a fairly even game, but their finishing was wonderful and you’ve got to give them credit,” Jerry Smith said.
In a matchup that may determine the race for the conference, Stanford will take on No. 2 USC (7-0-1, 0-0 PAC-12) next Saturday in Los Angeles.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.