By James Hemker
On Thursday night, Cagan Stadium will be rocking all night long with a double-header featuring both soccer teams. The second-ranked men’s team (7-0-1, 1-0 Pac-12) has a top-ten matchup against No. 7 Washington (8-1, 2-0 Pac-12), and then the No. 2 women’s team (8-1, 1-0 Pac-12) will close the night against No. 14 Washington State (8-1, 1-0 Pac-12).
The men are riding high, as their eight-game unbeaten streak is the best start to program history since 2001. They will look to extend that streak as well as their three-game win streak against the Huskies. This is the first time that the two programs are meeting while both in the top-ten since 2014.
Stanford has not shied away from stiff competition, tallying a 6-0-3 record in their last nine top-ten matchups.
Through their first eight games, the Cardinal have outscored their opponents 21-5. Freshmen forwards Gabe Segal (four goals) and Ousseni Bouda (three goals) headline the team’s offense that ranks sixth in the nation with a 2.63 goals-per-game average. Redshirt senior defender Tanner Beason and redshirt sophomore Zach Ryan have contributed three goals apiece as well.
Thanks to the efforts of redshirt sophomore keeper Andrew Thomas and the rest of the Stanford backfield, the Cardinal have the definition of a lock-down defense, allowing just .200 goals per game (second in the nation).
The Huskies only blemish thus far is a 3-1 loss to an unranked CSUN squad. Discounting that game, Washington has outscored opponents 19-1, and their toughest competition this year has been No. 18 Denver and No. 16 Michigan State, two teams that are no longer ranked.
While the men have a Pac-12 win streak of one game, the women are looking to defend a 30-game unbeaten streak in conference play when they take on the Cougars. Additionally, the Cardinal women have not conceded defeat at home in 31 matches, including a 3-2 win over No. 3 USC last weekend.
The Stanford offense is the most prolific in the nation, averaging 3.78 goals-per-game. Nearly every Cardinal score has come through junior forward Catarina Macario in one fashion or another.
The team has 34 goals to date, and Macario’s 31 total points (12 goals, 7 assists) lead the nation. For reference, Macario had 38 points at the conclusion of last season when she took home the MAC Hermann trophy. Her current points-per-game average (3.44) is nearly 0.75 points better than second place.
Washington State has momentum with a four-game win streak, which most recently features a 2-1 win over Oregon State in their Pac-12 opener. Last season, the Cougars proved to be one of the toughest opponents Stanford would face all year, as the Cardinal escaped Pullman, Wash., in a 1-1 draw following two scoreless overtimes.
The men will start their dance with the Huskies at 5 p.m. PT in Cagan. Following their match, the women will take the pitch for an 8 p.m. PT start time against Washington State.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.