The third goal of a 4-0 midweek victory didn't seem significant for the top-ranked Stanford women's soccer team, but it said much about Menlo School grad Jaye Boissiere.
She knew the Oregon defender had her hands full with speedy left-footed Michelle Xiao all night. Though Boissiere did not have the speed of her teammate, she saw the defender overplaying the same way, as if Xiao was on another end-line run.
This time, Boissiere cut upfield so quickly the defender toppled to the ground. As another slid over to cover, Boissiere recognized that Catarina Macario was now alone, and centered the ball. Macario's shot bounced off the post and into the path of Kyra Carusa for an easy header into the net.
The stat sheet reflected none of Boissiere's influence, just a goal for Carusa and an assist for Macario.
"I much prefer to put other people in the position to score," Boissiere said. "I find that part of the game more interesting. The final pass in the attacking third of the field is like trying to solve a puzzle where you have to find the right pass to hit with the right timing and the right texture."
Boissiere, who plays holding and attacking mid, has six goals and seven assists, and is the third-leading scorer on the nation's No. 1-ranked team. Even more important is her 15 starts and 16 appearances, by far the most of her Stanford career.
"Her intelligence is the greatest part of her game," coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "Her decision-making on the ball, her technical ability, her playing out of pressure, keeping possession for us, starting our attacks. But she's also a ball-winner -- closes down and wins tackles. She does it all for us."
The Cardinal is 15-1 overall and 8-0 in the Pac-12 going into a pivotal road trip at No. 6 UCLA on Thursday and No. 5 USC, the defending NCAA champ, on Sunday. Stanford is the highest-scoring team in the country and has one of the best defenses, outscoring opponents, 65-5.
"This team's potential is as great as its will to win," Boissiere said. "We have all the pieces we need to be an extraordinary team, from back to front. But we just have to want it. Every player on our team has incredible drive and ambition, so it's simply a matter of focusing on the tasks in front of us and applying that intensity and competitiveness every time we play."
Recruited out of the Mountain View-Los Altos Soccer Club and Menlo School, Boissiere came off the bench in her collegiate debut at North Carolina in 2014, a program Stanford never had beaten in 12 tries.
Boissiere immediately helped swing the momentum toward Stanford, only to leave the match with a torn meniscus, missing the end of Stanford's 1-0 overtime victory.
A series of injuries kept her sidelined for two and a half seasons, until she was diagnosed with small intestine bacterial overgrowth, which had led to nutritional deficiencies and susceptibility to injury.
With that understood and managed, Boissiere has grown in strength and energy. Though she is graduating with her class this spring, with a degree in political science, Boissiere only is a sophomore in eligibility because of medical redshirt seasons.
"When she played at North Carolina, she changed the dynamic of the game," Ratcliffe said. "It made me realize how impactful she could be. We've been waiting patiently to finally get her back, and she's proving her quality."
Though thin on game experience, Boissiere is rich in tactical knowledge, largely the product of her MVLA upbringing under coaches Erin Martinez and Albertin Montoya.
Boissiere's intelligence and ability to adapt to the defense allows the Cardinal midfield of Boissiere, Andi Sullivan and Jordan DiBiasi to complement each other and provide Stanford with the engine that keeps its offense revving. Stanford's success is no accident, and Boissiere's creativity and unselfishness is a big reason.
"She has the ability to be one of the best midfielders in the country by the time she's done playing collegiately," former Stanford goalkeeper Jane Campbell said.
"I really enjoy the build-up play even if we don't end up scoring, and I think my role tends to center on that," Boissiere said. "One of the best things a center mid can do is create opportunities for others."