Women's soccer: Stanford Cardinal sleeping giant now fully awake
STANFORD, Calif. -- "You wouldn't like when I'm angry."
That's a quote most often attributed to The Hulk, but it seems to fit the Stanford women's soccer team, at least right now.
The No. 2 Cardinal (6-1) is on a tear at the moment. Its three most recent victories -- 7-0 vs. Navy, 8-0 vs. USF and 7-0 vs. Yale -- broke a program record of 19 goals in a three-game span set in 1991.
"We've really been trying to hammer into our minds the mentality of leave no doubt on the field," said holding midfielder Tierna Davidson, a sophomore. "So we're hoping on keeping the shutouts and keeping the scoring margin high."
Stanford opened the season with 4-0 and 5-0 wins over Marquette and Wisconsin, but the road trip included a 3-2 hiccup at Florida that knocked the Cardinal from the top stop in the national rankings.
"I think it was great motivation for the team to lose early," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "I think everyone has refocused and they're working even harder than they were at the beginning of the season. They're just starting to hit their stride and looking good."
"It's definitely sparked a fire in us," said redshirt junior Kyra Carusa, who is second on the team with seven goals. "No one wants to sit in a game and walk off the field feeling like they could've left more on there. And that's what I really thing that we were left with in Florida a few weekends ago. But since then, all we could do is grow and get better. And putting the ball in the back of the net as many times as we have seems to be doing the trick."
Next up is Santa Clara (3-4-1), which knocked Stanford out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round with a 1-0 upset in double overtime at Cagan Stadium.
Better believe the Cardinal has not forgotten.
"Hopefully we can score a few goals this time and get after it," Ratcliffe said.
"I think that we've been looking forward to this game since last year," said junior midfielder DiBiasi, who scored a goal in the 2-1 victory over Santa Clara last year during the regular season. "And I can speak for everyone on the team in saying that we're going to give everything we can."
"At the end of the day, it's another game, it's another weekend, it's another team we're just going to put away," Carusa said. "I'm so stoked to get after it and I hope they know that we're coming, we're scoring goals and we're ready to put it to them and get after it."
The player responsible for finding the back of the net most for the Cardinal is a newcomer -- 5-foot-5 freshman forward Catarina Macario, with eight goals.
"What a little firecracker," said Carusa, who doesn't mind being No. 2 in the pecking order, so far. "She is doing freaking awesome. .. But you know what? There's a lot of games to be played. So that's what I like to say.
"And, honestly, at the end of the day, with how ruthless and relentless our offense is, the more, the merrier."
Seven games into the season, Stanford has outscored its opponents 37-3 -- or rather, 35-0 if one throws out the loss at Florida.
But it's that setback that seems to have awoken a sleeping giant, with 14 players already tallying at least one goal as the Cardinal seemingly deploys its offense in waves.
"I think that we push each other at practice and every time around the field, and because of that, regardless of the 11 on the field, we go after it," said DiBiasi, who is tied with midfielder Andi Sullivan for a team-best five assists. "When we sub, the play doesn't change. We're able to come in contributing and we're taking it to them."
This article is written by Vytas Mazeika from Palo Alto Daily News, Calif. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.