Sports


Stanford women remain unbeaten, unscored upon in soccer season

 

After eight matches, the Stanford women's soccer team remains unscored upon, earning another shutout by beating Santa Clara, 3-0, on Friday before 2,302 at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.

A first-half own goal, followed by second-half scores by Stephanie Amack and Ryan Walker-Hartshorn enabled No. 4 Stanford (7-0-1) to earn its 10th consecutive victory in the South Bay series against the Broncos (4-4), helping the Cardinal creep within 18-17-5 of the Broncos in the all-time series.

But the story was the Cardinal defense, which extended its shutout streak to 762 minutes, 12 seconds, dating to last season.

The Cardinal broke a school record with its eighth consecutive shutout and is within 12:11 of breaking another Stanford mark, for consecutive shutout minutes.

"I'm not shocked at all," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "I'm always shocked when we concede a goal. I want us to have shutouts, and I think we're capable of shutouts, and we're showing it."

Jane Campbell earned her sixth shutout of the season -- she's shared two others with Sarah Cox.

Stanford volunteer assistant Nicole Barnhart, who rejoined the Cardinal on Friday after leading FC Kansas City to the National Women's Soccer League title followed by a stint with the U.S. national team, is tied for the NCAA record with 18 shutouts in a season.

The NCAA team record for a season is 22, by North Carolina twice, in 1987 and 1997, and the NCAA mark for consecutive shutouts is 16, by Santa Clara in 1998.

The responsibility for the streak is shared. Of course, there's Campbell. And there's the backline of (from left to right) Stephanie Amack, Kendall Romine, Maddie Bauer, and Laura Liedle all have had time in the U.S. national team youth system. All are athletic, strong on the ball, and composed in pressure situations.

"We have good leadership back there, they're communicating well, and they're all talented players," Ratcliffe said. "They have a desire to compete at the highest level and they've proven that this year."

The work of freshman Andi Sullivan -- co-captain of the U.S. U-20 World Cup team this summer, a team that included Amack and Campbell -- also aids in the defensive cause because of her ability to stifle the point of the opposing attack.

The high pressure of the forwards and the work rate of players like midfielder Alex Doll all add up to the team's early success, allowing Stanford to keep possession and take the opponent out of its rhythm.

"We're just clicking," said Amack, who had a goal and an assist. "We work a lot on passing and finishing, and it's translating to the game."

Stanford opened the scoring when Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, Amack's teammate since their club days with the East Bay's Mustang Blast, pressured a defender into deflecting the ball into her own goal, in the 33rd minute.

A long ball by Liedle to Mariah Lee, whose run into the box and centering pass, put the pressure on the defense to make the mistake.

Amack put Stanford ahead 2-0 from a back-post header off Sullivan's corner kick, and Walker-Hartshorn scored her team-leading fifth goal of the season by beating goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski one-on-one after a defender misplayed a long ball by Amack.

"It was a great atmosphere," Ratcliffe said. "The team fed off the energy of the crowd. We were really competitive and created three great goals."

Stanford seeks shutout No. 9 Sunday when it plays host to Cal Poly at 3:30 p.m. in a match televised by the Pac-12 Networks. The match will conclude Stanford's nonconference season.

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