Spending time together on campus before the start of school, Stanford's top-ranked women's soccer team had plenty of time to bond over board games and bananagrams. These days the Cardinal is bonding over the NCAA tournament.
Madison Haley and Sam Tran each scored two goals and Stanford opened the postseason with a thoroughly convincing 9-1 victory over visiting Utah Valley on Saturday night.
"I give Utah Valley full credit. They were a tough, courageous team and they really put pressure on us," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "This team has a lot of weapons -- they're coming from all different areas and that's what we like to see to start the postseason."
The Cardinal set postseason program records in goals and goal differential, breaking the previous mark set with a 7-0 win over Sacramento State 10 years ago. Alison Jahansouz improved to 10-1 on the season, finishing the night with a season-high five saves.
"It is a special team just from the offensive production and from our shutout percentage," Stanford's Alana Cook said. "We're strong front and back and I think its not just the 11 players who start the game; it's all the players who come off the bench."
Haley made her first career start against Utah Valley. Michelle Xiao paced the Cardinal with three assists, while Catarina Macario and Civana Kuhlmann each had a pair of assists.
Haley got things going in the sixth minute with a clever finish with the outside of her right boot. Stanford's pressure forced a poor pass from goalkeeper Brooklyn Nielsen and Kuhlmann pounced and set up Haley for the finish.
Three minutes later, Kuhlmann forced another error from the Wolverines back line, closing down and tapping into an open net.
Libby Weber scored for Utah Valley to make it 2-1 on a corner kick, and Stanford responded with four more goals before the break.
Menlo School grad Jaye Boissiere netted her seventh goal of the year, striking from 30 yards into the top left corner in the 28th minute.
Two minutes later, Sacred Heart Prep grad Tierna Davidson headed home a Boissiere corner kick.
Macario opened her postseason scoring with her 15th goal of the season. Xiao whipped in a cross to the far post and Macario calmly redirected it inside the far post. Belle Briede scored her first career goal in the 42nd minute to put a bow on a dominant 6-1 opening half.
Haley opened the second half with her second goal, combining again with Kuhlmann. Tran wrapped up the scoring with goals in the 84th and 87th minutes, as Macario assisted both goals, one of which was a curled finish from the top of the 18-yard line.
The Cardinal outshot the Wolverines 33-11, including an 18-6 advantage in shots on goal. Nielsen finished with nine saves, while Stanford held a 9-5 advantage in corner kicks.
Notes: Macario's 15 goals are a record for Stanford freshmen . . . Jahansouz's start and win were the first of her postseason career. Stanford alternated between Jahansouz and Lauren Rood throughout the regular season . . . Paul Ratcliffe improves to 38-11-4 in postseason play.