Junior midfielder Andi Sullivan scored twice on set pieces and was involved in every goal as the second-ranked Stanford women's soccer team topped No. 10 Minnesota, 4-1, in nonconference action Friday night at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
Sullivan, a Hermann Trophy contender as the best player in the country, scored both after Minnesota (5-2) had cut a deficit to 2-1 early in the second half.
Tierna Davidson. Photo by Al Chang/StanfordPhoto.com
Goals by Jordan DiBiasi and Sacred Heart Prep grad Tierna Davidson in the first 15 minutes, each with Sullivan's influence, gave Stanford a lead it would never relinquish.
Davidson's goal was the first of her collegiate career.
Sullivan's pass, during picturesque ball movement, led to the first goal and her corner kick created confusion that led to a goal-mouth scramble resulting in Stanford's second goal.
Stanford extended its best start since a perfect 2009 regular season and next faces No. 20 Notre Dame, coached by Theresa Romagnolo, an assistant on that 2009 team, on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Cagan.
DiBiasi opened the scoring with a first-touch left-footed shot from the top of the six-yard box at 4:47 to complete a seven-pass sequence.
Central defender Maddie Bauer made a steal in the defensive third when a Golden Gopher failed to secure a long pass. The ball moved quickly from Sullivan to DiBiasi to Davidson, who sent the ball wide left.
Megan Turner beat a defender with a move and centered it to Kyra Carusa, who shrugged off a tug to her jersey to turn and make a blind pass across the middle.
A defender seemed occupied with Averie Collins, but the ball ran past and met the boot of DiBiasi. It was her fourth goal of the season, one short of her 2015 total
In the 15th minute, Sullivan's corner from the right side was met by a pair of headers, first by Bauer and then by DiBiasi that led to a shot from Carusa that was blocked by Minnesota's Molly Fiedler on the line.
Gopher teammate Rashida Beal tried to clear it out, but it traveled directly to Davidson, who put it in with a first touch from seven yards.
Minnesota got one back after a Stanford defensive giveaway near midfield. Kellie McGahn beat a defender down the left flank and her cross was punched in by April Bockin in the 48th minute.
However, Sullivan changed the momentum of the match back to the Cardinal at 66:31. Her right-footed strike from just outside the penalty area cleared a five-player wall and beat the goalkeeper to the near post.
After Carusa was leveled in the 71st minute, Sullivan sent a low hard strike inside the right post on the resulting penalty. Sullivan, who is moving forward with more frequency now that Davidson has helped secure a defensive role, has three goals this season – two short of her season best.