In what could be described as more saga than soccer, Stanford scored twice in the final 10 minutes to rally past Notre Dame, 2-1, in a lightning-interrupted epic Friday night.
Mariah Nogueira's 88th-minute header provided a measure of satisfaction after last season's NCAA championship loss to the Irish, and capped a night that began with the energy of a sellout crowd on the opening night of an stadium.
"I expect us to beat Notre Dame, that's my feeling," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "I wanted to beat them in the national championship and I thought we should have. But on the day, it wasn't that way.
"I'm happy we were able to beat them, but it's just another game. We've got to keep growing."
But it didn't seem like "just another game."
The crowd of 1,960 arrived at the debut of the new eastside stands that added 400 reserve seats and placed fans almost directly on top of the field. Stanford, also boosted by the return of three injured players back in the starting lineup, obviously was energized by the big crowd.
But with 1:07 left in the first half, a lightning strike above the stadium caused the match to be stopped for 49 minutes. And because it had started an hour late anyway because of the length of two earlier matches on the same field, play didn't resume until 9:56 p.m. (it ended at 10:58 p.m.). By the time it did so, most of the crowd had left for good.
"It was kind of like living through a dream a little bit in the second half," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "All the energy was gone. It was strange that way."
When Melissa Henderson headed in a cross from Mandy Laddish to give No. 8 Notre Dame (3-3) the lead in the 67th minute, the Cardinal seemed to slip into the doldrums. While scrambling to save the ball on the play, Stanford goalkeeper Emily Oliver slammed her leg against the post and was unable to continue.
Oliver had made seven saves, following up on her brilliant performance against the Irish in the NCAA final, but was forced to give way to Aly Gleason.
No. 2 Stanford (5-0-1) eventually snapped out of it because of a lift from a rash of subs.
Defenders Kendall Romine and Rachel Quon returned to the lineup after injuries, but were not in top condition. With about 15 minutes left, Ratcliffe brought Madeleine Thompson, Annie Case, and Natalie Griffen into the backline and moved Camille Levin up to attacking midfield.
The changes, "brought some life back in the team," Ratcliffe said.
Over the 14 minutes following Notre Dame's goal, Ratcliffe made eight substitutions and the renewed energy was easily apparent.
One of the subs, Marjani Hing-Glover, hustled to keep a play alive in Notre Dame territory and fed the ball the Lindsay Taylor, who unleashed a scorching 25-yard shot that looked like a slider as it tailed inside the right post for the tying goal in the 81st minute.
"Momentum was on our side," Ratcliffe said. "And we finished it off."
In another hustle play, Levin fought through defenders to reach the end line on the dribble and force a corner. Taylor's subsequent kick found the head of Nogueira at the back post for the winner with 2:23 to go.
The goal was significant for Nogueira in several ways. It was her first match back after missing three weeks of action with a shoulder injury, and it was her second career goal against Notre Dame. Her first collegiate goal, in 2009, broke a second-half tie against the Irish in a 2-0 victory.
Though they seemed in jeopardy, several streaks remained alive because of the victory: Stanford extended its home winning streak to 39, its home unbeaten streak to 43, and its regular-season unbeaten streak to 48.
"It shows tremendous character that they can come back from a goal down," Ratcliffe said. "It shows this team has the qualities necessary to win a national championship, because character is a big part of winning a national championship."
Hope Burke's goal in the 59th minute sealed No. 16 Stanford's 3-2 victory over No. 19 Indiana on Friday afternoon in the Cardinal's home opener at the Varsity Turf.
Fresh off a four-game, eight-day road trip that produced three wins, Stanford (4-1) notched its second victory over a top-20 opponent and improved to 3-0 in games decided by one goal.
Playing its first game since appearing in the national rankings, Indiana (4-1) entered the game boasting one of the nation's top defenses, having surrendered only three goals through the first four games of the year.
The Cardinal matched that total in one game, owning a 15-6 edge in shots and a 6-3 advantage in penalty corners on Friday, with three different players tallying a goal.
Continuing her recent impressive play, Alex McCawley put Stanford ahead 1-0 with a goal in the sixth minute following an assist from Shannon Herold. McCawley fired off a game-high six shots to pace a Cardinal attack that outshot the Hoosiers 8-2 over the first period.
Jaclyn Zamudio scored the first of her two goals at the 11:18 mark of the first period, finding the cage unassisted to even the game at 1-1.
Two seconds before halftime, Devon Holman scored her first goal of the year off a pass from Kelsey Lloyd to give the Cardinal a 2-1 lead at the break.
However, Zamudio's second score just two minutes into the second period knotted the match at 1-1.
In the 59th minute, Holman collected a loose ball near a scrum in the cage and crossed a quick pass to Burke, who beat Indiana keeper Viki Green for her second game-winning goal of the year.
Becky Dru chipped in with four shots to pace Stanford, which also received a solid two-save outing from Ale Moss in goal.
Stanford hosts No. 18 Northeastern on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Stanford ended its three-game losing streak Friday, surprising No. 15 Kentucky, 3-1, in its home opener.
The Cardinal went winless on its season-opening road trip.
"I thought the whole team fought very hard to come back from a one goal deficit," said head coach Bret Simon. "We defended the home field well."
The Cardinal conceded an early goal as Charles Pettys of Kentucky scored on a blast from 25 yards. Goalkeeper Drew Hutchins appeared to be shielded from the shooter and did not react in time.
However, the Cardinal immediately fought back, controlling the play for most of the game. Stanford equalized in the 33rd minute off a corner kick. Eric Anderson curled a ball into the box over the outstretched arms of the Kentucky goalkeeper. Waiting was JJ Koval who headed the ball into the back of the net. It was the first career goal for the budding sophomore star for Stanford.
"I thought a lot of players played really well, but if I had to pick one who had a really exceptional game it would be JJ Koval," said Simon. "He played the way we hope he will all season."
Just three minutes later, the Cardinal took the lead off another restart. Stanford drew a foul 40 yards from goal and again it was Anderson bending a ball into the box. This time Adam Jahn was waiting on the other end to head home a goal. It was the first goal of the season for Jahn and the eighth of his career.
Stanford's freshman class rode wins in six events and the Cardinal (1-0) defeated Centenary 111-77 in the first dual event of the season.
The Cardinal, which is on its annual training camp in the Bayou, saw a team of four newcomers win the 200 Neely relay en route to the fastest times in all 11 events.
Jonathan Edwards led off that relay en route to a time of 1:34.20 and also won the 100 backstroke, at that point an exhibition at 50.19.
Other freshman winners included Stephen Thomas in the 100 fly (52.82), Robert Hommel in the 100 free (47.43) and Drew Cosgarea in the 500 free (4:41.74).
David Nolan was a part winning relays in the 200 medley and 400 free relay (3:08.46). Davis was also a winner as a part of the 200 free relay (1:24.12). Senior Bobby Bollier anchored that winning relay with two other veteran teammates after winning the 200 IM (1:56.15).
Sophomore Cole Davis won the 50 free and was on the winning 200 relay team.