STANFORD, Calif. – On a cold and cloudy Northern California night in front of a boisterous crowd that included 100 Ruff Riders, No. 17 Santa Clara women's soccer fell to No. 1 Stanford 2-1. Santa Clara ends its season 12-4-6 while Stanford improves to 19-1-1 and moves onto the Sweet 16 for a match-up with Denver.
Santa Clara had 13 shots and seven on goal while Stanford had 14 and eight. Dani Weatherholt scored Santa Clara's goal on an assist from Lauren Matheson. Freshman goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski had six saves, including two diving stops.
"What I'm really proud of today is the girls followed our game plan and that produced a dead even game," said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith. "Any time you can play the defending national champions and No. 1 team dead even you've done well. We had them on their heels there late and had a couple chances to score near the end. Credit to them but I'm very, very proud of our effort out here today."
Dani Weatherholt almost put the Broncos on the board in the 25th minute. She gained control of the ball and took a dribble to the just outside the top of the penalty box before rocketing a shot that only a great save by Emily Oliver stopped.
As the skies opened up, Stanford broke through to take a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute. Chioma Ubogagu chased down a ball that looked headed for the end line and passed it to Courtney Verloo. Verloo one-timed a touch to the right side of the goal that got passed Tostanoski for the first goal of the game.
Tostanoski made a diving save in the 55th minute on a rocket of a shot from Sydney Payne to keep the deficit at one.
Verloo added her second goal of the night in the 60th minute on a beautiful play as the driving rain continued. She took the ball passed midfield and dribbled down the field to the outside the penalty box. She turned on the ball and hit a perfect shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar and got into the goal.
In the 75th minute Stanford almost scored again off of a free kick from halfway between midfield and the end line. Ubogagu sent a beautiful shot towards the left side of the goal but Tostanoski made another diving save to keep the score at 2-0.
Santa Clara scored its first goal in the 77th minute. Matheson took the ball on the right side and sent a pass into the box to Weatherholt who got a head on the ball and got it just inside the left post to cut the Bronco deficit in half at 2-1.
Despite pushing for the game-tying goal in the final minutes, Santa Clara was unable to score again and its season ended with the 2-1 loss.