No. 5 Stanford soccer tops No. 17 Arizona in OT
Stanford celebrates while Arizona midfielder Jaden DeGracie (14) stares in disbelief following Stanford's winning goal in the second overtime period on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 on Murphy Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium. The Wildcats lost for the third year in a row in overtime against the Cardinal.
No. 17 Arizona women’s soccer was hoping for a sweep of the Bay Area schools after beating California on Friday when it took on No. 5 Stanford on Sunday morning. The Cardinal ended up beating the Wildcats 3-2 in extra time.
Arizona got off to a promising start as it held the Cardinal without a shot for the first 14 minutes of the game. The Wildcats then scored off a corner kick to take a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute.
Gabi Stoian’s corner kick was struck into the box to be collected by Paige Crouch, who took a shot at the net. The shot was saved, but the rebound went to Jaden DeGracie, who knocked it in for her second goal of the season.
“I wouldn’t have scored if Paige didn’t shoot the ball,” DeGracie said. “So Paige shot the ball, and my job, when we run a set piece, is to front the keeper—and so I was in front of her, and the ball was just coming straight towards me and the keeper, and I tried to deflect it so it would go in.”
The lead didn’t last very long, however. In the 23rd minute, Stanford’s Haley Rosen fired a powerful shot from about 30 yards out that sailed into the top-right corner of the net. Arizona keeper Rachel Estopare had no chance at making the save.
The Cardinal took the lead seven minutes later, and just like the first goal, this one also came on a deep shot. Andi Sullivan launched the shot from 30 yards out, and it nicked the top of the post and went in.
The Wildcats’ defense, which came out strong at the start, lost a bit of its edge as the first half wore on.
“They are such a good team,” DeGracie said. “I think when we did score, we kind of took it for granted and relaxed a little bit. When against a team like that, you can’t relax.”
Arizona head coach Tony Amato said Stanford’s goals were a product of the Wildcats’ defensive game plan.
“I told the girls that if they score from 30 yards out in the top corner, we’ll hold our hand up and you can blame me,” Amato said.
The head coach also mentioned the objective was to force Stanford to make shots from a distance, rather than have scoring opportunities in the box or near the net.
“If they’re going to score, make it be from there, and that’s exactly how it happened,” Amato said. “You just have to hold your hand up and say well done to [Stanford].”
Stanford’s offense continued to create scoring chances in the second half. The Cardinal finished with 28 shots in the game, but the Wildcats were able to keep it from tacking on an insurance goal.
Keeping it a one-goal game turned out to be vital. In the 71st minute, Stoian placed the ball in the bottom-left corner of the net from about 25 yards out to tie things up. It was Stoian’s sixth goal of the season and the 19th of her career.
Neither team would score in the rest of regulation, so the Wildcats went to extra time for the second time this season.
Both defenses were stout in the first extra time, but in the second Stanford’s Kyra Carusa was able to control a loose ball in the box and put it in for the game-ending goal.
It was the second loss for Arizona this season, which is now 8-2-1 and 2-1 in the Pac-12 Conference.
Normally, hanging in against Stanford for over 100 minutes would be something to be proud of, but the Wildcats are no longer interested in moral victories. It’s another sign that Arizona soccer is on the rise.
“I think it’s changed in the fact that years ago, if you have a losing team, they look at that as a win, but … [our team] was extremely disappointed and feel like they lost, … and that tells me about our team more than anything else,” Amato said.
The Wildcats will head to Southern California next weekend to take on UCLA and USC on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
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