For the better part of Sunday’s match at Husky Soccer Stadium, the Washington women’s soccer team was matching the play of the No. 14 team in the country: Stanford.
But one disorganized play on defensive eventually led to the Huskies’ doom, as they fell to the Cardinal, 2-1.
In the 83rd minute, the Cardinal (10-3, 4-1 Pac-12) pushed numbers forward, making trouble for the Huskies’ (3-6-3, 1-2-2 Pac-12) defense which had been organized for nearly the entire second half.
Stanford’s Madison Haley sent a rocket into the back of the net after a deep ball was deflected by the UW defense, putting the Cardinal back in front after the Huskies tied the game early in the second half.
“The second goal they scored was brilliant,” Washington head coach Nicole Van Dyke said. “There’s not much you can do there. You can’t get between five players. For 44 minutes and 40 seconds we were super organized and disciplined, but they found a way to sneak a goal in there.”
Before the late goal, the two teams were knotted up very evenly.
Stanford was on the front foot for the opening 15 minutes of the match, pouring numbers forward and creating dangerous chances in front of the UW goal.
But the Huskies absorbed the Cardinal attack, leading way to a few opportunities on the counter attack.
A few corner kicks were the UW’s best chance to score in the first half, but none were too threatening to Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer.
Following a mundane 10 minutes, the Cardinal seemingly pulled a goal out of nothing.
Sanford’s Abby Greubel dribbled to the top of the UW 18-yard box and pulled up for a shot in front of a disorganized Washington defense. The left-footed strike sailed just past the outstretched arms of redshirt senior goalkeeper Olivia Sekany and into the back of the net to give Stanford a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute.
Going into half, the Cardinal had a an 11-9 advantage in shots, but the Huskies were able to put more of their chances on frame.
It wouldn’t take long for Washington to draw even in the second half, as a brief spell in possession ended with a game-tying goal.
In the 57th minute, Washington forward Summer Yates controlled the ball at the top of the 18-yard box, looking to create a chance. It looked like the Huskies were outnumbered by Cardinal defenders, but Yates somehow found streaking forward Ruby Hellstrom, who controlled the ball and dribbled by a Cardinal defender and tapped the ball past Meyer in goal.
“Summer and I are absolute best friends, roommates, teammates for years, we just have a really great chemistry on and off the field,” Hellstrom said. “We just work really well together. On that slip ball through she just knows I am going to make that run.”
The sides exchanged opportunities for the following 25 minutes, but the late Cardinal goal with less than 10 minutes remaining sunk any hope the Huskies had at a second straight win.
Washington looks to salvage its season with three weeks remaining when it hits the road Friday, Oct. 15 taking on Arizona at 7 p.m.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @edwardsanthonyb
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