Stanford women make it a perfect 10 in conference soccer | News | Palo Alto Online |


Stanford women make it a perfect 10 in conference soccer


Kyra Carusa stole a goal and Megan Turner produced her first goal to help the third-ranked Stanford women's soccer team beat visiting UCLA, 2-0, on Sunday to claim the outright Pac-12 Conference title.

The Cardinal (16-2 overall, 10-0 Pac-12) recorded its third consecutive shutout and its 10th straight victory. Stanford hosts California in the regular-season finale Friday at 6 p.m.

Stanford will be playing for one of the four top seeds into the NCAA tournament this weekend. The Cardinal is ranked third by Soccer America, fourth in the coaches poll and fifth in the RPI ratings through Sunday.

The Big 10 and ACC, where the top four teams in the RPI are from, are in their respective tournaments. The Pac-12 does not host a conference tournament.

Over the past 10 games, Stanford is unbeaten and untied. Defending national champions an RPI No. 1 Florida State (13-2-3) is 6-1-3, No. 2 Virginia (15-1-1) is 9-1, No. 3 Penn State (14-3-2) is 8-1-1 and No. 4 Rutgers (15-2-2) is 7-1-2.

The Cardinal has to beat the Golden Bears to be considered, though the Nittany Lions and Scarlet Knights are meeting in the Big 10 semifinals on Friday. A Penn State victory would help Stanford more than Rutgers winning.

Virginia and Clemson and Florida State and North Carolina meet in Friday's ACC semifinals. The Cavaliers and Seminoles are locks for the top two seeds.

The Cardinal's two losses have come to teams (Penn State, Santa Clara) with a combined .765 winning percentage. The Broncos lost at California, making a victory over the Golden Bears that much more important. Every like little bit helps.

The Cardinal won its 10th conference championship and fifth in the last seven years.

"I'm really proud of winning the 10th Pac-12 championship," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and really talented student-athletes."

Carusa got Stanford on the board in the 62nd minute, stealing a pass from a UCLA defender and drilling a shot past the Bruins' goalkeeper.

After a foul was called on Mariah Lee near the top of UCLA's 18-yard box, Carusa challenged the Bruins defender who received the short pass on the quick restart. She won the ball and powered a right-footed shot to the back of the net. Carusa is second on the team with 13 points and is tied for the team lead in goals with five.

Turner added insurance with her first goal of the season in the 84th minute. Lee beat a defender on the right side of the box and created space to send a cross to the front of the net where Turner headed it in the right side netting.

She became the 12th Cardinal player to score at least one goal this season.

"It's been a real team effort this year," said Ratcliffe. "You look through the season, the different players who have scored goals and I feel like everybody on the field has scored a goal for us. It's truly remarkable."

The Cardinal has not allowed a goal since the 36:07 mark at No. 25 Washington State – a span of 342:23 minutes.

"It's all about organization and communication," said junior defender Maddie Bauer of the team's defensive performance. "Everyone won their individual battles and we were all there to cover for each other."

Jane Campbell made one save and communicated well with her defense to earn her eighth shutout of the season and 28th of her career. She passed Emily Oliver for sole possession of fifth place on Stanford's all-time shutout list.

"UCLA has some tremendous strikers and put us under pressure," added Ratcliffe. "The defense did very well to limit them to only a few good looks. It was a collective effort, the whole team stuck together and played a good game."

Stanford maintained a majority of the possession throughout the game and held advantages in shots (15-6) and corner kicks (11-2). The Cardinal had its opportunities to score in the first half, with an 8-1 edge in both shots and corner kicks, but could not find the final touch needed to take the lead.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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