The top-ranked and top-seeded Stanford women’s soccer team earned its 10th trip to the Women’s College Cup, which will be held at Avaya Stadium in San Jose beginning Friday, with a 5-1 win over visiting No. 4 BYU at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
Catarina Macario scored the first two goals for the Cardinal (22-1), which will play UCLA in the 6:30 p.m. contest. North Carolina and Washington State meet at 4 p.m.
"Hats off to BYU for an incredible season, this game was much closer than the score indicated but I am so proud of our student-athletes for staying focused on our goal of winning a national championship," said Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe. "It took us a few minutes to settle in today but I was thrilled with the result and am excited for this chance to play for a championship so close to home."
The Cardinal fought through some nervy moments in the opening stages before scoring five unanswered goals, including four in the first half. Macario pushed her program-record total to 32 goals on the season, with Kiki Pickett and Sam Tran also scoring in the opening half. An own goal by the previously-undefeated Cougars (21-1-1) made it 5-0 before BYU pulled back a goal in the 64th minute to make it 5-1.
BYU had a golden opportunity in the second minute but a shot from close range was blocked by the Cardinal's defense. Macario got the breakthrough in the 17th minute, finishing the feed from Madison Haley, who produced two assists. Haley started an attack with pace before playing it into the path of Macario, who picked her spot and dinked it into the top corner to make it 1-0.
In the 30th minute, Macario struck again to double the lead. Sophia Smith played a ball to Haley, who quickly turned her defender and found a wide-open Macario, whose one-timed effort fizzed past Sabrina Davis to make it 2-0.
Pickett and Tran scored in quick succession near the halftime whistle, making it 4-0. Pickett slammed home a loose ball in the box from close range and, two minutes later, Tran headed home a well-worked set piece at the back post to give Stanford a huge lead entering the break.
In the 54th minute, Smith dribbled past her defender before crossing it toward the back post. A Cougar defender got a piece of Smith's cross, deflecting it past Davis for an own goal. BYU scored in the 64th minute on a free kick by Danika Serassio but Stanford confidently played out the final 26 minutes to book its third straight trip to the College Cup.
Stanford's program-record 98 goals tie for the 20th-most in NCAA history and are the most since Notre Dame scored 110 in 2005.
Macario's 32 goals tie for the eighth-most in NCAA history and are the most since Christine Sinclair scored an NCAA-record 39 goals in 2005. Her 87 points, the most in program history by 22, tie for the third-most in a season behind Mia Hamm (97) and Sinclair (88). Macario's career totals in goals (63) and points (173) trail only Christen Press for the most in program history (71 goals, 183 points).