The No. 3 Stanford women's soccer team defeated No. 21 California, 4-1, Friday afternoon to claim its 11th Pac-12 title, and sixth conference championship in the past eight years.
A stunning individual effort by Andi Sullivan in the 56th minute provided the decisive goal in the Cardinal's (17-1-1, 10-1 Pac-12) win that locked up its second consecutive Pac-12 championship. It is Sullivan's team-leading 11th goal of the year.
Michelle Xiao, Kyra Carusa and Beattie Goad scored a goal apiece in a dominating offensive performance for the Cardinal. Stanford held advantages against the Golden Bears (13-5-2, 6-3-2 Pac-12) in shots (14-6), shots on goal (7-2) and corner kicks (6-2).
Stanford's defense, anchored by Maddie Bauer and Alana Cook, continued to play well and shut down the opposition's attack. Tegan McGrady was electric on the left side, constantly stepping up in plays to steal the ball and start the attack. Carly Malatskey and Logan Karam played well on the right side.
Stanford all but locked up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with the convincing win and Pac-12 title.
The Cardinal have been ranked in the top-five a majority of the season and have been No. 1 in the RPI rankings for all but one week. Stanford will learn its postseason fate Monday at 1:30 p.m. (PT) in a web stream on NCAA.com.
Stanford took an early lead in the 13th minute when Sullivan sent a long cross from the right sideline to the back post. Xiao slipped behind her defender and headed a shot off the bottom of the crossbar and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
The advantage did not last long, however, with Cal responding less than two minutes later. The Bears found a hole in the left side of the penalty box and Arielle Ship snuck a shot under a diving Campbell's left arm.
Stanford controlled the remainder of the half, outshooting Cal, 4-1, but could not find the finishing touch to retake the lead.
The Cardinal broke through for a second time in the 56th minute with a spectacular individual effort by Sullivan. Stanford played temporarily with 10 players due to an injury and was waiting to sub a player into the game.
Before the Cardinal could make its substitution, Sullivan received the ball near midfield, beat her defender down the right side of the field twice, then curled a left-footed shot into the far post.
Sullivan has scored in five consecutive games, accumulating seven goals over that span.
Carusa provided extra breathing room in the 75th minute, converting her first penalty kick of the season after Xiao was taken down in the box.
Stanford did not rest on its two-goal lead and instead continued to push forward and attack Cal's defense the remainder of the half.
Goad provided the exclamation point to the victory, scoring the first goal of her collegiate career with one second remaining on the clock. She became the 13th Stanford player to score at least one goal this season.