NCAA women's soccer: No. 1 Stanford defeats No. 5 USC for third straight Pac-12 crown
LOS ANGELES – No. 1 Stanford clinched its third consecutive Pac-12 championship with a 3-1 win at No. 5 USC on Sunday afternoon at McAlister Field.
WATCH: Top goals from Week 10
The Cardinal (17-1-0 overall, 10-0-0 Pac-12) got goals from Kiki Pickett, Michelle Xiao and Catarina Macario, and Lauren Rood improved to 9-0-0 on the season with one save.
Macario's goal in the 63rd minute sealed three points for Stanford, which won its 15th consecutive match and 17th straight in Pac-12 play. Andi Sullivan made a long run toward the Trojans' (14-2-1, 8-1-1) penalty area, winning a free kick from 25 yards.
Macario, who scored a 35-yard free kick against Oregon on Oct. 19, stepped up and planted a curled shot into the top corner. It was her team-leading 13th goal of the season, and essentially put the game out of reach for USC.
Pickett opened the scoring in the 15th minute, heading home her first career goal after Jaye Boissiere's ball into the box. USC equalized one minute later, but the stalemate lasted 10 minutes before Xiao's goal in the 27th minute. Xiao collected the ball from Macario on the left wing, beat her marker and chipped the keeper into the far corner.
Civana Kuhlmann forced a fingertip save in the 43rd minute before Stanford entered halftime with a 3-1 advantage. After the break, both teams had scoring chances to start the period but it was Macario who put the game to bed with her free kick in the 63rd minute.
The Pac-12 championship was Stanford's third in a row, 12th all-time and seventh under head coach Paul Ratcliffe, now in his 15th season in charge of the program. The Cardinal finished the game outshooting the Trojans 18-14, including a 10-2 advantage in shots on goal.
Stanford returns home for the regular season finale on Nov. 3 against No. 16 Cal at 7 p.m. PT. Prior to kickoff, the Cardinal will honor its departing players as part of annual Senior Day ceremonies. The game will broadcast live on Pac-12 Network with live statistics available at GoStanford.com.