Jane Campbell settled into her regular place in front of the net for Stanford's Pac-12 game against Utah on Sunday.
Campbell and Andi Sullivan had been called into duty for the U.S. national women's soccer team and were expected to be with the national team through Sunday.
Campbell was released from her national team duties because she was not expected to play in Minneapolis and national coach Jill Ellis, who coached at UCLA, understands the importance of Senior Day.
"It's crazy to look back as seniors," Campbell said. "It seems like only yesterday we were playing in our first game."
Campbell was pressed into starting duties as a freshman when Emily Oliver had to retire from the sport because of concussions.
Maddie Bauer and Stephanie Amack were firmly entrenched in the starting lineup, while Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, Megan Turner and Siobhan Cox all saw action and each started at least twice during a 15-6-1 season that matched the worst finish (4th) under coach coach Paul Ratcliffe. The six losses are the most in the last decade.
"To put it bluntly, our class has gone through hell and back," Campbell said. "We came a long way and helped change the culture of the team."
The Cardinal is 53-5-6 in the two-plus years since and continue to be national title contenders.
"I'm really proud of the seniors, they're a great class," said Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe. "They've done so much for Stanford over their four years."
Campbell helped the Cardinal beat Utah, 2-0, recording four saves. Her biggest stop came in the 83rd minute when Utah's leading scorer found a gap in the defense and had a one-on-one opportunity.
Campbell came off her line to challenge the shot and made the save to preserve the shutout. It is Campbell's 33rd career shutout and she is now two clean sheets shy of the program record held by Nicole Barnhart (35).
Stanford (14-1-1, 7-1 Pac-12) hopes to nail down a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament, which would give it the opportunity to host the first four rounds. With the Final Four moved to Avaya Stadium in San Jose on Dec 2 and 4, there's even more motivation.
"We're super excited about San Jose," Campbell said. "We love the warm weather. But we have to get there first."
Added Ratcliffe: "It's definitely extra motivation. We love playing in the Bay Area. But there's still a lot of work to be done."
Kyra Carusa and Michelle Xiao scored a pair of first-half goals to lead Stanford. Averie Collins and Tegan McGrady combined for three assists.
The Cardinal plays at Arizona Thursday at 7 p.m., at Arizona State Sunday at 3 p.m. and finishes the regular season at California on Nov. 4.
"The team's starting to peak at the right time," said Ratcliffe. "I don't think we've peaked yet. We still have work to do but I hoping we can forge ahead and continue to get better leading into playoffs."
Foster Langsdorf scored in the 66th minute and No. 12 Stanford won its second consecutive game in Westwood, beating No. 24 UCLA on Sunday night, 3-2.
Stanford (9-2-4, 6-0-1 Pac-12) eliminated the Bruins (7-6-1, 3-4-0 Pac-12) from the league title chase. With 19 points and three matches remaining in the regular season, the Cardinal is eight points clear of second-place San Diego State (8-3-4, 3-2-2 Pac-12) and 10 ahead of Washington (10-4-0, 3-2-0 Pac-12), which has two games in hand.
Stanford, the back-to-back Pac-12 champion, is gunning to become the second program to win at least three consecutive conference titles. UCLA took the league crown for four straight seasons from 2002-05.
"What's been awesome about this group is that we haven't been talking about the outside world much at all," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "The players have done well focusing on the job at hand and in how to perform as best they can. We don't talk about results or where the standings are. Throughout the season, we've worked only on how to play as well as we can. The team has had an exceptional run in a very, very tough league. It's awesome, but it doesn't matter to us. All that matters to is that that we get ready to play Thursday."
The Cardinal rebounded in spectacular fashion to close the first half after Felix Vobejda put UCLA up a goal in the 21st. Sam Werner chipped a ball to the right post from the top of the 18 in the 41st, Bryce Marion settled at the side of the six and slid up top to Drew Skundrich who rocketed his fourth of the season just below the crossbar.
Seventy-two seconds later, Jared Gilbey took a corner from the near side and neatly served the ball up to the head of Tomas Hilliard-Arce, who guided it to the far post to put Stanford up 2-1. It was the junior's third set-piece header in the Cardinal's last five matches.
Brian Iloksi pulled UCLA even in the 60th when he beat Andrew Epstein to the lower right corner, but Stanford would respond again.
"It was a tremendous effort for college soccer and a scintillating game between two very, very good teams," Gunn said. "What more can you want? You couldn't ask for more from both programs. It must have been incredibly exciting to watch as a fan and unbelievably hard work as a player."
Skundrich crossed midfield in the 66th and led Corey Baird to the endline. Baird fed the ball back out in front and Langsdorf calmly guided it home to put Stanford on top, 3-2.
"It was an intriguing game," Gunn said. "UCLA throws a lot of numbers forward into good attacking position. When they break they're dangerous and when we get the chance to go at them we're dangerous. At the end of day we created just enough more than they did."
Langsdorf's winner moved him into a tie with Cal's Christian Thierjung for the conference lead in goals (9). Baird, whose assist was his fifth in the past four games, now has 22 in his career to tie Walter Kingson (1980-83) for seventh in Stanford history.
"Corey has had tremendous season," Gunn said. "He played central midfield at the beginning and did a great job. Since moving to a forward position he's thrived. He's formed a wonderful partnership with Foster. They're very different, get to play varying roles up front and really get to complement each other."
The Cardinal, which notched the program's first win in Westwood last season, has now won three of its last four with UCLA. Stanford is 10-1-3 in its last 14 matches against ranked opponents.
Stanford set a program record with seven conference wins in 2015 and will have three chances to tie or break that mark beginning Thursday when the Cardinal hosts Oregon State (4-6-3, 0-3-2 Pac-12) at 5 p.m.
A Stanford win coupled with a Washington loss at Cal would clinch the Cardinal's third consecutive Pac-12 championship. The Huskies and Bears play at 3 p.m. Thursday