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Haley Rosen. Photo by Dave Bernal/
Card Downed in Top-10 Matchup
Courtesy: David Kiefer  
Release: 09/11/2015

 GOALS 0 2
 SHOTS 16 4
 SAVES 2 4
TIME OF POSS. 44:54 (60%) 29:44 (40%)


 Crouse, 10'
Basinger, 66'

STANFORD, Calif. -- The goals came quickly, two exquisite rapid strikes that left No. 2 Stanford looking at a 2-0 loss to Penn State on Friday night.

Stanford (4-1) doesn’t lose often in women’s soccer, and it doesn’t lose big at home -- Stanford’s last home loss by more than a goal was way back in 2007.  And, contrary to the score, Stanford was not outplayed. It outshot the No.  7 Nittany Lions, 16-4, and had a time of possession advantage of more than 15 minutes, by Stanford’s count.

But there was something missing that prevented the result from seeming like a fluke. How does a team outshot by such a margin leave feeling it deserved it? By seizing each chance with confidence and control.

Penn State’s Frannie Crouse epitomized that. First, she picked Stanford clean just outside the box to launch a quick attack that ended with her first-touch left-footed shot that bounced in off the right post. That 10th minute strike was followed by another, in the 66th minute. Crouse beat a defender to the end line to send in a cross that was volleyed in by Brittany Basinger from close range.

It wasn’t the four shots, it was what Penn State did with those four shots that could serve as a lesson for Stanford, a team that started three freshmen and counts heavily on young players across the board.

"The thing you learn a lot from the college game is how much every second of every game means," said Stanford's Andi Sullivan, a sophomore captain. "Big games like this aren’t won across the whole spectrum, they’re won in tiny seconds where you could have done something more. You could have dug a little deeper.

"That’s not something just our freshmen need to learn, but that goes for our whole team. We were lacking hunger."

Those freshmen --Jordan DiBiasi in midfield, Alana Cook in central defense, and Michelle Xiao up front -- did quite well.

Xiao has scored two goals and been the team’s most dynamic attacker. Cook is learning that a Stanford central defender must be as good with her feet as she is in parrying away attacks. And DiBiasi has become one of the team’s most vital players – unspectacular, but involved in every Stanford offensive thrust

"Jordan has an unusual and exceptional understanding of the game," Sullivan said. “She reads the game very well, especially offensively. And she’s not only super consistent, she’s also creative. She’s got great vision and combines with her teammates very well.”

Scoring goals remains the biggest need for improvement. Stanford has scored eight times this season, and the goals have come from six different players. Of those, Xiao’s two and one by Ryan Walker-Hartshorn represent  Stanford’s only goals from forwards. That’s where DiBiasi comes in.

“She’s a major catalyst for us.” Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. “The hard thing with younger players is consistency. But I thought they did well today. They played well and they’re continuing to grow with each game, and that’s the most important thing.”

Stanford came in with a lofty ranking, and the loss certainly will drop the Cardinal some. But it may not be a bad thing, Ratcliffe admitted. Stanford is a team that needs to prove itself, despite a recent history that includes six NCAA College Cup appearances in seven years.

“It’s a young team,” Ratcliffe noted. “We’ve got to learn from it.”

Dominating play isn’t enough. It’s just another lesson in a season that may have its share of them. But, for Stanford, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  

* * *

Cardinal Notes
• It is Stanford’s first loss in program history against Penn State. The Cardinal is 2-1 all-time against the Nittany Lions.
• Stanford lost by more than one goal at home for the first time since Nov. 23, 2007, a 2-0 defeat against Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament Round of 16.
• The Cardinal’s shutout streak – which began at the 32-second mark of the season-opener at Hawai’i – ended at 9:52 against Penn State when Frannie Crouse scored the first goal of the game. Stanford’s shutout streak lasted 369:21 minutes over five games.
• Stanford has outshot all five opponents and holds a 95-23 shot advantage on the season.



Cardinal AXEcess

Cardinal AXEcess