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Far from home: women’s soccer falls to No. 5 Duke on the road

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No. 10 Stanford women’s soccer (3-1-0, 0-0-0 Pac-12) took on No. 5 Duke (5-0-0) on Thursday afternoon for their first fixture of the team’s East Coast road trip. The Cardinal lost the match 2-1 after a back-and-forth battle of goals.

The loss was Stanford’s first of the season, putting them at three wins and a single loss, still with a few more games until Pac-12 action starts. The Blue Devils remain undefeated on the season.

The game began with Duke freshman forward Michelle Cooper slotting a ball into the lower-left corner in the 23rd minute. The goal resulted in a momentum shift in favor of the Blue Devils for the remainder of the half. Stanford went into the break down 1-0.

Despite the slow start, Stanford star senior defender Naomi Girma equalized in the 66th minute. The shot found the net after an assist from rising-star freshman forward and midfielder Andrea Kitahata. The assist marks Kitahata’s third of the season so far, in addition to her two goals against San Diego State.

The momentum seemed to momentarily shift back in favor of the Cardinal. A 70th-minute equalizer from Duke’s graduate student defender Caitlin Cosme, however, sealed Stanford’s fate. Although they fought back hard to get another equalizer, the advantage fell to Duke, and the match ended 2-1.

Regardless of the score sheet, Stanford had a strong showing against one of the best teams in the nation. The hard-fought battle showed Girma’s ability to be a game-changer — something the Cardinal missed sorely in their 2021 spring season — and her strength heading into what will likely be her last season. Additionally, the team looks well-prepared to take on their Pac-12 peers, and fans can expect to see a run for the conference title.

Next on their East Coast trip, Stanford will take on No. 2 North Carolina. Possibly the most historically sought-after matchup of the coasts, the game will take place on Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. PT.

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Jenna Ruzekowicz is a staff writer in the sports section. She is a sophomore from Syracuse, New York majoring in Computer Science. Her teams include: Portland Thorns, Arsenal and Man City. Contact her at jruzekowicz 'at' stanforddaily.com.