Oct. 28, 2012
Los Angeles, Calif. - In a great showcase for women's college soccer, No. 1 Stanford won a thriller over No. 2 UCLA, 2-1, in front of a UCLA record crowd of 4,068 and nationally-televised audience on Sunday night.
Stanford scored twice in under two minutes to overcome a 1-0 deficit with 13 minutes to play. The Bruins had claimed a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute on a goal by freshman Taylor Smith.
The loss was UCLA's first of the season and first in over a year, snapping a school-record 25-game unbeaten streak. Meanwhile the victory gave Stanford its fourth consecutive conference title.
Although the score was tied at 0-0 at the half, both teams had good scoring chances. Stanford had two shots in the first seven minutes, with Courtney Verloo taking a shot that forced Bruin goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland into a diving save in the fourth minute and Alex Doll hitting the post in the seventh. UCLA senior Zakiya Bywaters terrorized the Cardinal defense with dangerous runs throughout the game but was stopped by Cardinal goalkeeper Emily Oliver on two shots in the half, including a shot in the box in the 37th minute.
The Cardinal pushed forward quickly in the second half, with Lo'eau LaBonta forcing Rowland into a save at 46:41 and then shooting high at 47:28, but it was UCLA who got on the board first. Samantha Mewis started the play by winning a ball in midfield and passing quickly to Smith, who sent a cross to Kristiana Konkol-Mroczkowski in the box. Without a clean look, Konkol-Mroczkowski dished back to Bywaters, whose shot was blocked by a Stanford defender. The ball came right to Smith, however, and the freshman one-timed it to the far post past Oliver for the 1-0 lead at 48:35.
The Bruins kept pushing for an insurance goal. In the 54th minute, Bywaters used some fancy footwork to juke a Stanford defender, but her shot was saved by Oliver. The Cardinal goalkeeper came up big again in the 72nd minute. Bywaters made another run and unleashed a shot that forced Oliver into an acrobatic save.
Five minutes later, Stanford tied it up on a shot from 20 yards out by Chioma Ubogagu, who dribbled a pass from Verloo up the field and shot to the far post to just beat a diving Rowland at 76:52. Ubogagu helped the Cardinal take the lead at 78:04, assisting on Rachel Quon's goal in the box to the far post.
UCLA had another crack at the equalizer in the 82nd minute, but Chelsea Cline's laser shot was saved by Oliver, and the Cardinal held on in the final minutes for the victory.
"I was happy with our effort tonight. It certainly wasn't our best performance of the year, so there are some details we need to change, both offensively and defensively," said UCLA head coach B.J. Snow. "I think the game changed when we couldn't put the second one into the back of the net down there. We had a couple of opportunities to make it 2-0, and any time that you leave a great team like Stanford in the game ... there's a reason they were the champs last year. They have a championship fighting spirit. At the end of the day, I was proud of the effort of our girls, so that's what we're going to take away from it."
UCLA drops to 15-1-2 on the year and 8-1-1 in the Pac-12. Stanford improves to 16-1-1, 10-0-0 in the conference. The Bruins end the regular season on Friday at USC at 2pm.