By Robin Zhang
After a convincing five-goal shootout against Oregon last Sunday, No. 2 Stanford women’s soccer (12-1, 5-0 Pac-12) returns home to take on No. 16 UCLA (9-3-1, 3-2 Pac-12) at Cagan Stadium on Oct. 19.
Over the last four games, the Cardinal has increased its winning streak to seven, tallying sixteen goals while conceding none in this span. They maintain a strong grip on its runner-up position on the ladder of NCAA rankings. Stanford is also the only remaining team to be undefeated in the Pac-12 conference. The offensive prowess of this team cannot be exemplified more perfectly than in the Oregon matchup on Oct. 13, with four players contributing to the scoreboard and star junior forward Catarina Macario scoring two alone.
After the first half started uneventfully, the score was disrupted by a Macario penalty kick at minute 41, and less than a minute later, sophomore Sophia Smith took the stage, danced past Oregon defense, and placed the ball beautifully into the upper left corner in a solo effort. The dynamic attacking trio of Macario, junior forward Madison Haley, and senior forward Carly Malatskey unleashed their strength and versatility throughout the second half. Macario opened up again seven minutes into the second half with an assist from Haley; she would then reciprocate with a cross from the right wing to Haley, who would finish strong with a one-touch boom. The win was sealed with Malatskey’s eighth goal of the season, making the final score 5-0.
Stanford’s prolific offense seeks to maintain its strong showing this weekend. With a goal this weekend, Smith would extend her scoring streak to five games, as well as surpassing her current career-high of seven goals in a season. Macario, leading the stats sheet with 18 goals and 10 assists under her feet, is on her way to edge into the top five overall career points in the program’s history. Now at 132 points, Macario needs only one assist to tie and one goal to surpass Lindsay Taylor (133 points).
History seems to be on her and Stanford’s side. In fact, Macario and Smith’s collective endeavor lifted the team over the Bruins in 2018 with a hard-fought 3-2 win, with Macario scoring two and Smith adding another goal. Although the historical record of 17-12-3 only slightly favors the Cardinal, UCLA has failed to scrap a single win in the last five face-offs. Even with the Bruins’ rise in the rankings after a three-game win streak following last week’s 2-0 victory over Utah, Cardinal fans can still expect the team to finish this year’s duel on a similar if not higher note as Macario and Smith continue to impress on the pitch.
Other players to keep an eye on include freshman midfielder Maya Doms and redshirt freshman goalkeeper Katie Meyer. Having represented the U.S. in the U-17 World Cup in 2018, Doms has proved to be an important addition to the lineup with her start last week. Meyer, a vital player on the defensive end, has been more than critical in keeping the slate clean on the Cardinal side.
The taming of the Bruins will begin sharp at 7 p.m. Pacific Time in Stanford, CA.
Contact Ruiping (Robin) Zhang at [email protected].edu.