Sports


Stanford women reach NCAA soccer championship match

 
Stanford celebrates its victory over South Carolina. Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

The Stanford women's soccer team didn't waste any time in its first appearance at the NCAA College Cup in three years, scoring twice before the game was 30 minutes old.

Jordan DiBiasi scored two first-half goals to lead Stanford to a 2-0 victory over South Carolina in the College Cup semifinals on Friday and into its fourth national title match.


Tegan McGrady/Stanford Athletics
It's an all-Pac-12 final as Stanford (23-1) faces UCLA on Sunday at 9 a.m. at Orlando City Stadium. The Bruins advanced on penalty kicks, 4-3, over Duke.

UCLA freshman Olivia Athens is a graduate of Menlo-Atherton but only played soccer at Sacred Heart Prep before transferring.

Both of DiBiasi's goals came in the first 26 minutes and were reflective of Stanford's dominance of the run of play. In both cases, Stanford attacked up the left side and the ball went through outside back Tegan McGrady.

In the 10th minute, McGrady struck a free kick from near the sideline with her left foot. DiBiasi met the cross with a glancing header from the top of the six-yard box, as she was moving away from the goal and with a defender draped on her back and two others in front of her.

In the 26th minute, McGrady pushed the ball forward to Catarina Macario, who let the ball travel before whipping a cross to DiBiasi. Her first-time right-footed shot from 10 yards was off-line, but deflected off a defender and into the goal. It was DiBiasi's 10th goal of the season and Stanford's national-leading 88th, extending a school season record.

"Two fantastic goals," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "Like we've seen all year."

DiBiasi leads the team with six game-winners, and of her 21 career goals, 12 are game-winners.

The Cardinal tied a school-record by earning its 19th shutout, matching the 2002 team that featured All-America goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart and allowed only four goals all season. However, this team may be the most dominant in school history, outscoring opponents, 88-7. In five NCAA tournament matches thus far, the differential is 18-1.

Stanford returns to its first final since beating Duke, 1-0, in 2011, in Kennesaw, Georgia. That was Stanford's third consecutive final, finally reversing a pair of 1-0 losses, to North Carolina and Notre Dame.

Stanford had two strong chances to add to its lead. In the first minute of the second half, Macario sliced across the penalty area to beat three defenders and shot off the right post. The ball bounced off the back of prone goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski and spun on top of the goal-line before it was covered by Krzeczowski.

Later in the second half, DiBiasi nearly had a hat trick, with a right-footed shot that just cleared the crossbar.

South Carolina (19-3-1), the Southeastern Conference champion, was playing in its first College Cup. The team's star, Savannah McCaskill, was held without a shot.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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