Boulder - Two quick goals helped No. 2 Stanford past the University of Colorado soccer team on Sunday. The Buffaloes scored first, but fell 2-1 to the defending national champion in front of a season high crowd of 1308 fans.
Freshman Emily Paxton scored in the 45th minute, assisted by Shaye Marshall. Marshall took a pair of corners, with the second one connecting with Paxton who headed it into the left side of the net and past Stanford keeper Emily Oliver to score her second goal of the season.
In the 79th minute, the Cardinal scored both of their goals, enough to shut the game away. At the 78:04 mark, Mariah Nogueira got past the CU defense with the assistance of Laura Liedle for her sixth goal of the season. Just 37 seconds later, Alina Garciamendez scored off a cross from Rachel Quon to claim the win.
"I am so proud of our team," Anne Stuller said. "We played with a lot of heart. The ball didn't bounce our way today again, and hopefully it starts bouncing our way soon because we are a good team, like I've been saying. And I will keep saying we are a good team, and we deserve to beat teams like Stanford."
The Cardinal have fallen just once this season, and have won 36 consecutive conference games. Stanford improves to 11-1-1 overall, 5-0 Pac-12, while Colorado is awaiting conference victory at 6-5-3, 0-4-1.
The teams came out ready to battle. Stanford outshot Colorado just nine to seven in the first half, with both teams having one shot on goal apiece. Stanford came out dominating the offense, but Colorado got the final word in the 45th minute.
With 30 minutes remaining, the Buffs built up some momentum as Krauser and Stuller both got touches but couldn't get a shot at the net. Just seconds later, the Cardinal got the ball back. Hannah Farr shot one at the right post, but Amy Barczuk blocked the ball in front of the net.
After a Stanford corner kick, Stanford's Nina Watkins gained possession, but the Cardinal was blocked again. With under 26 minutes left of play in the first half, the Buffs worked together to take a solid shot. Hayley Hughes and Anne Stuller rushed to the net, crossing to Olivia Pappalardo, who sent one just wide.
The Buffs picked up on offense, but Stanford was always ready to intercept the ball. In the final 15 minutes before the break, the Cardinal made a lot of noise at the net, but couldn't get anything past the fierce CU defense. Brunner grabbed her only save in the 30th minute, stopping a shot by Lo'eau LaBonta.
"Hats off to our defense," Stuller said. "Stanford's opportunities were far and few between, we did a good job; we didn't let them get many shots off. We didn't give them too many opportunities."
The Buffs got a couple good looks at the net before they scored in the final minute before halftime. With 13 minutes left, the Buffs got close shots from Hughes, who sent one just wide, and Pappalardo headed one high off a free kick from midfield.
Stanford responded sending shots at CU off of corner kicks, but Barczuk and Lizzy Herzl got the stops necessary to prevent goals. As the clock ticked down the final five minutes of the first half, the Buffs controlled the ball and got on the board. Freshman Nikola Machalek got past the sturdy Stanford defense, but shot the ball wide.
In the final minute, the Buffs did what they had done just once in three previous meetings with the Cardinal - score a goal. Marshall took a corner with a shot hitting the crossbar and just missing the net to spur the Colorado offense. At 44:41, Marshall's second corner found Paxton ready to head it into the net. The ball hit into the left side and made its way past the keeper to put the Buffs up 1-0 going into the break.
"It was a great ball by Shaye (Marshall) we did good at getting the ball in there," Paxton said. "It was really exciting because we knew we still had a lot of time left. "
The Cardinal took control of the tempo early, taking a shot just four minutes into the second half. One minute later, Stanford took another shot that hit the top of the net. The Cardinal continued to press and sent one wide with 32 minutes remaining. After a corner kick, Alina Garciamendez headed the ball high.
As the game got more physical, the Buffs gained more control of the ball. Madsion Krauser got one near the net off a long goal kick by Brunner, and minutes later, Hughes sent one right at the keeper. The Buffs came close in the 68th minute when Pappalardo intercepted the ball and dribbled down the field to Stuller. Stuller took her time to ease past the defense, and hit one at the right edge of the net, where Oliver tapped it away. CU got another shot with just over 18 minutes remaining, but Paxton's header went high and the Stanford offense got back on top.
"I also credit their keeper a lot," CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. "I thought that save near post off of Stuller was big time. "
After a throw in, the Cardinal pressed the net, opening up the CU defense. Mariah Nogueira netted one with the assistance of Laura Liedle to tie the game in the 79th minute. Only 37 seconds later, Stanford worked the same play to net another and take the 2-1 lead. Garciamendez scored her fourth goal of the season off an assist from Rachel Quon.
"They moved their No. 20 Mariah Nogueira up to center forward and she is just a handful, and that was a good turn and a good finish," Sanchez said. "And before we could really make adjustments they also sent their center No. 4 Alina Garciamendez up there who is also an All-American, and a handful as well, and she got that shot off. But if you really look at the big picture of the match they had two great opportunities and they scored them both."
The Buffs tried to respond in the final 11 minutes, but two more of Stuller shots were saved, ending the game 2-1 in the favor of Stanford.
"As a coach you are looking for a silver lining and the silver lining is that Stanford is one of the top two or three teams in the country and we played pretty well today," Sanchez said. "But it doesn't make the players feel any better because they want to get the results. They would rather play bad and get a win, or get a tie. We lick our wounds and we get ready for Oregon State on Saturday.
Come support your CU soccer team on Saturday, Oct. 13 as they take on Oregon State at noon. The first 500 fans will receive a FREE CU soccer rally towel courtesy of the Boulder Buff Club as part of Fan Appreciation Day! Remember admission and parking are FREE!