Sophomore midfielder Jordan DiBiasi seems to know instinctively when to step up and take the big shot. She did it again Sunday after defender Tierna Davidson won the ball in Stanford's penalty box.
DiBiasi scored the only goal of the game with just over 10 minutes remaining to play to lift the top-ranked and top-seeded Cardinal past visiting Florida State, 1-0, in the third round of the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament on Sunday.
Stanford (21-1) hosts No. 3 seed Penn State (15-4-4) at 2 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals. The winner advances to the Women's College Cup in Orlando.
Penn State, which won the title two years ago was a runnerup five years ago, was a consensus No. 1 pick before the season. It's also the last school to win on Stanford's home turf, taking a 2-0 victory ion September during its run to the 2015 title.
The Nittany Lions have won their first three games by a combined 12-1 score. Stanford has also outscored its NCAA opponents by a 12-1 margin.
"Florida State is an amazing team and I thought we did a good job of limiting their opportunities by keeping possession," Cardinal coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "I'm always looking for work ethic, and I thought we showed great character to see out this win."
DiBiasi netted her fifth game-winning goal of the season and Alison Jahansouz earned her 10th shutout for the Cardinal.
Florida State was threatening in Stanford's penalty area in the 79th minute when SHP grad Davidson stepped up to win the ball and embark on a run from penalty area to penalty area.
She beat four Seminoles before sending the ball to the arriving DiBiasi in the box. DiBiasi's first touch set her up for a precise finish inside the far post, good for her seventh tally of the season. She has scored 11 game winners among her 129 career goals.
Jahansouz finished with one save, improving to 12-1. Her 10 shutouts put her just outside the single-season top 10 behind Jennifer Poehler, Elise Edwards and Kira Maker (11).
Stanford's first scoring chance came in the 14th minute when Catarina Macario found space down the right wing on the counter. She squared to Andi Sullivan at the top of the box, and Sullivan's driven attempt sailed just wide.
In the 20th minute, Macario's shot from close range was palmed away by Cassie Miller, who finished with seven saves. Stanford entered halftime tied at 0-0, outshooting the Seminoles (13-7-1) 9-1 at the break.
Just after halftime, Macario rattled the post on the counter attack before forcing another fine save by Miller in the 56th minute. Kiki Pickett, who was excellent at right back in both defense and attack, nearly put Kyra Carusa through on goal in the 67th minute, but Stanford continued to be stymied in the final third.
Following DiBiasi's goal, Stanford absorbed pressure for the final 10 minutes, nearly bagging a second goal several times with the Noles opened up. In the final minute, Pickett cleared Florida State's most dangerous chance of the sequence to seal progression to the quarterfinals.