Sept. 11, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 3 Stanford women's soccer team got two goals from Kelley O'Hara to rally to a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Purdue at the Santa Clara Classic on Friday night.

O'Hara's penalty kick in the 73rd minute was the winner, giving her eight goals on the season and enabling Stanford (6-0) to remain undefeated.

Purdue (5-1) began strongly. In the opening seconds alone, Stanford goalkeeper Kira Maker tipped a half-field shot off the opening kickoff over the goal, watched a header bounce off the post and dived at an opponent's feet to prevent to prevent another open shot.

Purdue kept up the pressure to draw a corner kick that was headed from the far post across the goal mouth to Jessica Okoroafo, whose subsequent header gave the Boilermakers a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

Stanford regrouped by controlling the tempo and splitting the defense with a threatening pass. Kelley O'Hara forced a diving save from Purdue's Jenny Bradfisch on one sequence and made her next chance count, in the 17th minute, to tie the score.

A long pass from the right forced Bradfisch out of the goal mouth. She tipped the ball out of O'Hara's reach, but directly to Christen Press, who touched the ball to O'Hara for the equalizer. It was O'Hara's seventh goal of the season.

Stanford's superior quickness and speed began to play dividends as the game wore on, with O'Hara outsprinting two defenders to one ball and defender Ali Riley stealing the ball clean from another player and starting a counterattack. Meanwhile, Mariah Nogueira continued to dominate in her defensive midfield role.

On one sequence, a defensive stop resulted in a ball played up to Lindsay Taylor and eventually to O'Hara, whose shot was blocked by Bradfisch at the top of the box. Finally, in the 73rd minute, O'Hara put Stanford ahead. Maker booted a back pass upfield and Taylor flicked it forward into O'Hara's path. Going one-on-one, O'Hara slipped the ball past a defender while being tripped. O'Hara converted the subsequent penalty kick with a low shot inside the left post.

Stanford continued to probe the defense, making the Purdue players run, and then find offensive players in open spots. The trick was to prevent the odd rush or set piece that could result in an equalizing goal against the run of play.

Stanford next plays No. 5 Notre Dame on Sunday at Santa Clara's Buck Shaw Stadium at 11 a.m. in a rematch of last year's NCAA College Cup semifinal. Notre Dame won that match, 1-0.