Sports

LaBonta helps Cardinal reach ninth straight Elite 8

 

Just to make things a little more interesting, Stanford senior Lo'eau LaBonta missed her penalty shot but kicked it hard enough to get the rebound and convert the unassisted goal in the Cardinal's 1-0 victory over visiting Washington in a third round match of the NCAA women's soccer tournament Sunday.

No. 1 seed Stanford (20-1-2) hosts No. 2 seed Florida on Friday at 7 p.m., with a berth in the Women's College Cup final four at stake.


The Cardinal beat the Gators, 1-0, earlier in the season at Stanford in a game that got a little testy and was decided on a penalty kick in overtime.

"I was not able to play much in that game," LaBonta said. "I played the last six minutes and luckily scored the penalty kick."

She set up for her penalty shot against the Huskies late in the first half after Ryan Walker-Hartshorn was taken down in the penalty box.

She scored the only goal in Friday night's game against Arkansas on a penalty kick with Washington players watching from the stands.

"Megan (Kufeld) is a great goalkeeper, " LaBonta said. "I have played with her before. She got the block but I said 'no way, this is going in somehow and I followed it. I was a little upset I didn't get the kick and that's why I didn't celebrate. It was more relief."

The Stanford defense, with goalkeeper Jane Campbell coming up big, made sure the one goal was enough. It was Stanford's 17th shutout of the season and second in a row.

"The back line takes a lot of pride in taking the shutout, " Cardinal defender Kendall Romine said. "We want to do everything we can to preserve the win. We have a lot of confidence going. "

Stanford outshot the Huskies, 20-4, including 8-3 on goal.

"I'm all about creating opportunities, " Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "We've been creating a lot of amazing opportunities. I'd like to score and create separation but I like to think we're building them up for later."

Stanford beat Washington for the 11th consecutive time and improved to 23-2-2 all-time against the Huskies. The Cardinal has won 24 consecutive home games in NCAA competition.

Stanford advances to the quarterfinals for the sixth time in the past seven years and surpasses the Cardinal's showing in last year's tournament, when it was eliminated by eventual champion UCLA, in Los Angeles, in the third round.

"It's definitely frustrating when you can't finish, but at the end of the day, we got the one," LaBonta said. "We're definitely satisfied with that."

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