Sports


LaBonta converts penalty kick to send Cardinal to Sweet 16

 

Senior forward Lo'eau LaBonta placed the ball down, took a moment to gather herself, and then fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net. That's all it took for Stanford to advance.

LaBonta converted a penalty shot in the 24th minute and the third-ranked Cardinal women's soccer team edged visiting Arkansas, 1-0, in a second round game of the NCAA tournament Friday night.

Top-seeded Stanford (19-1-2) meets Pac-12 rival Washington in Sunday's Sweet 16 at 1 p.m. The Huskies downed Missouri, 1-0, in overtime, earlier Friday.

"Washington was over in the corner saying 'she's going right' so I figured I'd just go left and hit hard into the net," LaBonta said. "I had to laugh that they were cheering for Arkansas. It motivates us all the more."

Stanford beat No. 4 seed Washington, 4-1, during the regular season, also at Stanford.

"We respect Washington," Cardinal coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "They're a talented team; credit to them for making it to the final 16. We expect another hard game."

Stanford held Arkansas' Ashleigh Ellenwood, who played with the U.S. Under-23 national team, without a shot and the Razorbacks attempted six for the game, three on goal.

The Cardinal attempted 24 shots, 15 in the second half. Razorbacks' goalie Cameron Carter recorded eight saves. Stanford goalie Jane Campbell made three saves, two in the second half.

LaBonta's penalty kick was set up when Taylor Uhl was taken done in the box.

"Usually I take some time, even in practice, when I take penalty kicks," LaBonta said. "I want to take a deep breath, wait a while and relax. It's the best way I know how to take penalty kicks and I am sticking with it."

Stanford earned its 16th shutout this season in a match that seemed closer than the Cardinal's 24-6 shot advantage might indicate. Arkansas threatened at times and the match seemed in doubt until the final whistle.

"They were a well-organized team," Ratcliffe said. "Their goalkeeper was good and I thought we had some good chances we just didn't put away … I'm happy to advance."

Stanford improved to 3-0 against the Razorbacks, though they last played in 1995, and won its 23rd consecutive home game in NCAA tournament play, dating to 2007.

In other games involving Pac-12 teams, UCLA took care of Harvard, 6-0, Kentucky beat Arizona State, 3-1, Colorado fell to North Carolina, 1-0, Florida beat California, 3-1, and Texas A&M outscored Arizona, 7-2.

-- Stanford SID David Kiefer contributed to this report

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