Thursday, January 23

Women’s soccer unable to survive Stanford, knocked out in NCAA semifinals

Redshirt senior forward Chloe Castaneda scored the only goal for No. 2 seed UCLA women's soccer in its loss to No. 1 seed Stanford in the semifinals of the NCAA Division I College Cup. (Axel Lopez/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Women's soccer

No. 2 seed UCLA1
No. 1 seed Stanford4

This post was updated Dec. 6 at 9:48 p.m.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — For the second time in three years, the Cardinal sent the Bruins home from the College Cup empty-handed.

No. 2 seed UCLA women’s soccer (18-5-1, 8-3-0 Pac-12) fell to No. 1 seed Stanford (23-1-0, 11-0-0) in the 2019 NCAA Division I College Cup semifinals by a score of 4-1 on Friday night. The Bruins took an early lead before allowing four unanswered goals in what became their final match of the season.

“It’s just sad,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “It’s just such a hard way to lose because it just doesn’t feel like us tonight. If we battled back … at least it’s, ‘What a great game that was.’ We don’t have the satisfaction of (tonight) being our best effort, and that was really tough.”

Redshirt senior forward Chloe Castaneda logged the first goal of the night in the seventh minute, when she received a long ball from junior forward Ashley Sanchez and made a left-footed shot from outside the Stanford box. Cardinal goalkeeper Katie Meyer swatted at the ball but could not redirect it before it found the back of the net.

The goal was just the second allowed by Stanford in five postseason games.

“I was ecstatic,” Castaneda said. “I thought that we really set the tone for the rest of the game, which was rough.”

Less than three minutes after Castaneda’s goal, Cardinal forward Sophia Smith equalized with a shot from the right side of the box that she tunneled through the legs of senior goalkeeper Teagan Micah.

Stanford forward Carly Malatskey scored the go-ahead goal in the 21st minute, with a shot that flew past junior defender Lucy Parker and hit the upper right corner of the goalframe before dropping across the goalline. Smith increased the Cardinal lead exactly 10 minutes later when she received the ball in the box and made a left-footed shot to put the Cardinal up 3-1 at the half.

Early in the second half, Smith completed a hat trick with a shot from the right wing into the side netting. The sophomore has 17 goals on the season — second on the Stanford roster only to forward Catarina Macario, who leads the nation with 32 goals.

Senior defender Kaiya McCullough said the rain and wet pitch made Stanford’s attack even more dangerous.

“We were wearing studs and still slipping – that’s definitely a factor when you have crafty players like (Smith), (forward Madison Haley), and (Macario),” McCullough said. “They’re hard to defend period, so when you can’t keep your footing it makes it a lot more difficult.”

Macario recorded one shot, no assists and no goals in Friday’s match. The Bruin midfield also held the reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner scoreless in the regular-season matchup.

Stanford’s four goals were the most allowed by UCLA since September 2018 and the Cardinal outshot the Bruins 25 to eight in the match. Five of UCLA’s shots were on target.

Despite the Bruins’ lack of scoring, Sanchez’s one assist tied her for the UCLA single-season assist record for the second year in a row.

The Bruins have lost just two matches since Oct. 3 – both to the Cardinal – and UCLA has not defeated Stanford since 2014.

“When I first got to UCLA, we beat Stanford my first two years, and it seemed easy to me,” Cromwell said. “But, it’s not so easy.”

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Sports staff

Hunt is currently a Sports staff writer on the gymnastics beat. She was previously a reporter on the women's soccer, women's water polo and swim & dive beats.

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