By Jeremy Rubin
No. 20 Stanford (1-2, 0-0 Pac-12) defeated San Diego State (0-1, 0-0 MPSF) 15-7 on Sunday at Cagan Stadium. The win represents not only the first of Stanford’s young season, but also the first under new coach Danielle Spencer.
Ten different Cardinal players found the back of the net in the match. Senior midfielder Mikaela Watson led the way with three goals. Fellow senior midfielder Jacie Lemos, along with junior attackers Galen Lew and Ali Baiocco, each scored two apiece as the Cardinal commended an early lead and maintained a wide margin between the teams. Stanford led by five goals at the half and won the second half battle as well, 5-3.
Lemos scored her third goal of the season just over a minute into the match at the 28:58 mark of the first half. Less than 30 seconds later, Lew doubled the Cardinal lead to 2-0.
After the Aztecs briefly shrank the Stanford lead to 4-3, the Cardinal rallied back, scoring six straight goals to enter halftime with all the momentum. The first four goals, scored by Baiocco, Lemos, Lew and sophomore midfielder Caitlin Chicoski, came within six minutes of San Diego State’s brief comeback.
The Cardinal passing was also on display, assisting on six of the 15 goals of the afternoon. Lew finished with a team-high two assists, and Chicoski, Baiocco, junior attack Katherine Gjertsen and freshman attack Jay Browne each chipped in one.
In the contest, Stanford outshot the Aztecs 41-23 and consistently controlled the ground ball battle, hustling across the field.
Stanford entered the match a career 7-0 in head-to-head matchups against the Aztecs. The last time the two teams played was in April 2019, a decisive 18-9 Stanford victory.
The season thus far has been one of steady improvement for the Cardinal. After a 17-13 loss to No. 10 Denver, Stanford followed up with a heartbreaking 12-11 loss to No. 8 Virginia on Friday. Now, the team enters the win column for the first time. Each time, perhaps most impressively, the defense has allowed fewer goals than in the previous match.
After Spencer stressed the team’s progress following the Virginia and Denver matches, Stanford’s performance on both sides of the field on Sunday was incredibly promising as the season continues to move forward.
The Cardinal will now have six days off to continue to learn and grow. Their next match is not until they welcome UC Davis to the Farm next weekend.
The contest will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT at Cagan Stadium.