Mariah Nogueira scored late in the first half and the top-seeded and top-ranked Stanford women's soccer team added some insurance in the second half of a 3-0 victory over visiting Montana in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday night.
Castilleja grad Lindsay Taylor added a penalty kick and freshman Chioma Ubogagu scored in the 72nd minute, prompting Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe to empty his bench.
The Cardinal (20-0-1) has not lost at home since the 2007 season and will host South Carolina (16-6) in the second round on Friday night at 7 p.m. The 22nd-ranked Gamecocks beat Texas, 1-0, in their first-round matchup.
"We're really excited," South Carolina's Loly Holland said of the opportunity to play top-seeded Stanford. "We're ready to play anybody. We feel like we can hang with anyone. People don't really know what we'll bring to the table, but we're ready for the opportunity. A lot of us haven't played against California teams, so we're excited to go out there, show them what we've got, put our best game out there and see what happens."
The Gamecocks beat Arizona, 1-0, in double overtime early in the season in Tucson and lost, 1-0, to Arizona State in Tempe. Stanford beat Arizona, 7-0, at home, and downed the Sun Devils, 3-1, in Tempe.
In the first half, Stanford kept constant pressure on Grizzlies' goalkeeper Kristen Hook, who was up to the task for the most part. The Cardinal took 14 shots, including six on goal. Hook made five saves.
Stanford scored in the 38th minute, when Mariah Nogueira headed the ball in from the far post after Taylor sent a corner kick in from the left. Taylor took six corners in the first half.
Montana's strategy seemed sound: pack the defense and pressure high.
"We've seen that a bit, and it's good for us," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "It creates more width for the attack and it makes it harder for us to score because they have numbers behind the ball. So, it's a good challenge for us. I want us to be challenged."
Stanford has been strong in the postseason in recent years, having advanced to the NCAA College Cup the past three seasons. But, at home in the NCAA tournament, Stanford is especially deadly.
The Cardinal has won 13 consecutive home NCAA matches - 11 by shutout. Stanford has outscored those 13 opponents by a combined 33-2.
"We're just going in this year taking it game by game," defender Alina Garciamendez said. "I still get butterflies because if we lose, we're out of the tournament."
Garciamendez, however, helped the Stanford defense record its 14th shutout of the season, and had a header smack the crossbar in the second half.
"It was a challenge for us to keep an eye on every player and have everyone marked," Hoon said. "I feel they may have held back a little bit, but when they went for it, it's pretty unstoppable. They had so many players involved, and I think that's what it takes to be the number one team. They're well on their way."
The victory extended Stanford's home winning streak to 47 and marked the sixth consecutive season the Cardinal has advanced past the first round.
Stanford finished the season on a high note, beating host California, 3-0, Friday afternoon in the Pac-12 Conference finale.
The Cardinal (3-6-1, 6-10-2) got unassisted goals from Garrett Gunther and Adam Jahn, while Zach Batteer's goal was assisted by Bobby Edwards.
Stanford outshot the Bears, 19-11, including an 11-3 margin in shots on goal, in winning its first road match of the year.
Drew Hutchins went the distance in goal for the Cardinal to pick up the victory as Stanford earned its first win against the Golden Bears since the finale of the 2007 season and the first win in Berkeley since 2001.
"I think we have been getting better the second half of the season and it really showed today," said head coach Bret Simon. "I was really happy for our seniors to be able to end like this, all out on the field together, finishing off a shutout."
There were eight seniors on the roster this year: Taylor Amman, Alexander Binnie, Ben Grafentin, Garrett Gunther, Clayton Holz, Adoni Levine, Tommy Ryan and Cullen Wils