PORTLAND, Ore. -- Chioma Ubogagu’s first-half breakaway goal was enough for No. 5 Stanford to beat No. 14 Portland on Saturday to earn its third consecutive road victory against a ranked team to begin the women’s soccer season.
Ubogagu read a crossfield pass, closed on the center back quickly, stripped the ball near midfield and bolted for the goal. She scored on a low shot with her left foot from 12 yards in the 30th minute. It was the second winning goal of the season for Ubogagu, who struck an overtime winner at then No. 4 North Carolina to open the season.
“The team’s growing with each performance,” Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. “We’re still not where we want to be, but we’re getting there.”
Stanford had two other chances near the end of the first half, but Taylor Uhl had a volley and header that were just high. Portland’s best chance came midway through the first half when the Pilots took advantage of a poor Stanford back pass to deflect the ball past Campbell, but fifth-year center back Kendall Romine arrived in time to clear the ball just before in skidded inside the near post.
Two-sport standout Hannah Farr, an All-America in lacrosse, received her first collegiate start at outside back and performed well from the right side. Laura Liedle moved into the middle and teamed with Romine to create a formidable defensive interior.
“Laura stepped in and looked like she’s played that position for three years,” Ratcliffe said. “She was fantastic.”
Ratcliffe was pleased with the way the team stayed composed despite playing in front of a vocal crowd of 4,847 spectators, many with drums standing a few feet off the sideline at Merlo Field.
“I don’t think you can prepare for that,” Ratcliffe said. “You have to have a strong belief in yourself. You have to have composure and character and we did.”
Stanford plays host to UC Santa Barbara at 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
“We’ve got strong momentum right now,” Ratcliffe said. “We got to keep it rolling.”