Sept. 30, 2005
STANFORD, Calif. - The Santa Clara and Stanford women's soccer teams have carved out a reputation lately for physical, low-scoring contests, and Friday night's match at Maloney Field was no exception as the Cardinal prevailed 1-0 over the fifth-ranked Broncos.
Although the Broncos created more scoring opportunities and pressured the Cardinal defense throughout the match, Stanford made the most of their only serious chance in the 24th minute. Stanford's Allison Falk crossed a free kick from right to left into the box where Rachel Buehler emerged from the scrum with the ball and punched it past Julie Ryder for the game's only goal.
"Outside of the goal in the game, it was our best game of the year in terms of what we did with the ball," said head coach Jerry Smith. "We kept possession and moved the ball well, and had good rhythm and flow. We created numerous quality scoring opportunities today. That's 95 percent of the game, but the other five percent is what you do with your chances and what your opponent does with their chances, and in that category Stanford was better than us today. "
The Broncos started the match off in control as just over a minute into the match a Tiffany Roberts header went high over the net for an early scoring chance. In the first 20 minutes of the match Santa Clara created at least four quality opportunities as Roberts, Brittany Klein and Tina Estrada all caused turmoil in the Cardinal box.
Santa Clara again brought pressure to the Stanford zone and appeared to equalize in the 44th minute when Tina Estrada finished off a sequence off of a Marian Dalmy free kick, but a late offside call from the officials negated the goal.
The match from that point on became a gritty, physical battle between two evenly-matched teams, as the two schools combined for a total of 55 fouls and five yellow cards on the night. Yet as often happens in these stalemated types of matches, one turn of events ends up deciding the outcome, as evidenced by Buehler's goal.
The second half saw only six combined shots from the two teams, as Stanford continually fell back to prevent the Bronco attack from finding space. Santa Clara managed to earn a couple of corner and free kicks but could not convert to silence most of the Cardinal fans among the 1,718 in attendance.
"This was a playoff atmosphere, and it's good to have this kind of game under your belt as you go into the tournament," said Smith about the loud, standing-room only crowd. "Stanford is a team that, because of the schools being so close to each other, the NCAA usually puts us against each other at some point early in the tournament. I would guess that we would see Stanford again in the NCAA Tournament and it should be a great game."
The Broncos return to action to complete their stretch of five games in ten days as they take the pitch against the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland Sunday morning at 11 a.m. at Maloney Field.