PALO ALTO, Calif. — Before head coach Lesle Gallimore got a chance to speak with the media following the Washington women’s soccer team’s 4-0 dismantling by No. 2 Stanford, she was interrupted by Cardinal head coach Paul Rutcliffe, who gifted the 26-year coach a bottle of wine.
“For me, it’s obviously humbling,” Gallimore said. “It’s a bit overwhelming at times to be honest, to have people say and do the things for me that they have been.”
Before the game, Gallimore, who is in her final year at the helm of the Washington program, was brought onto the field, given a bouquet of flowers in honor of her impact on collegiate women’s soccer, and the crowd gave her a round of applause.
And Stanford isn’t the only school that’s honored her either. Before Washington’s upset of No. 20 California, the Golden Bears introduced a trophy called the Gallimore-Griffin Cup in honor of the two women who have had such a major influence on both programs. Gallimore played for Cal from 1982-85 and began her coaching career there as an assistant in 1986.
The second name on the trophy is named for associate head coach and goalkeeping coach Amy Griffin, who has been Gallimore’s assistant for 24 years. The pair met when they were involved with the US Women’s National Team setup, and have been best friends ever since.
“I’ve always just shown up everyday to just to coach and be the best coach we can be for our players,” Griffin said. “I’ve never really realized that maybe we’ve been good at our job for a long enough time that other people have noticed. It’s the best compliment you could be given. It’s really touching.”
Two penalties sink Huskies against No. 2 Stanford
Despite the pregame festivities, both Gallimore and Griffin want to keep the focus on the team, which suffered its first loss in the Pac-12 this season. They’ve still never beaten the Cardinal (10-1, 3-0 Pac-12) at Cagan Field, but the Dawgs sit on six points which keeps them in the hunt for the conference title.
Stanford went ahead almost immediately after the opening kickoff when a switch by the Cardinal in the eighth minute found winger Carly Malatskey wide open against Washington goalkeeper Siena Ruelas. The Huskies’ net minder saved the first attempt, but the ball bounced right back to Malatskey who fired home on an essentially open goal from just outside the six-yard box.
Twenty-one seconds later, Stanford sophomore Sophia Smith broke though the Husky defense to find herself one-on-one with Ruelas. The striker missed, but Ruelas brought her down in the box, earning a yellow card and a penalty. Smith slotted home from the spot, just under the Washington goalie, who guessed the right way, to give Stanford a commanding 2-0 lead.
“I thought we started the game extremely passive,” Gallimore said. “When you do that against a team like Stanford, they’re going to come after you and try to finish the game early. And it feels like that when you go two down in eight minutes.”
And if that didn’t seal the game, another penalty conceded twenty seconds before halftime did after senior Jessica Udovich handled a ball in the box. Cardinal striker Catarina Macario, the second-leading goalscorer in the nation, sent Ruelas the wrong way, and the Cardinal went into the break up 3-0, effectively wrapping up the game.
The Cardinal tacked on one more out of the break when freshman Maya Doms volleyed home from the top of the box. Washington only managed three shots all game.
Washington will hope to regain its good form back in Seattle when they welcome the Arizona schools to Husky Soccer Field next week.
Reach Bay Area Correspondent Andy Yamashita at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ANYamashita
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