Pilots fall to Stanford, upend USC

By The Beacon | September 21, 2011 9:00pm

Women’s soccer loses to No. 1 Stanford 2-0 and beats USC 2-1 to stay at .500

(-- The Beacon)

By Kyle Cape-Lindelin Staff Writer capelind13@up.edu

The women's team hosted the No. 1 team in the country last weekend as Stanford arrived undefeated to Merlo Field. Stanford has been a thorn in the Pilots' side annually, as UP has been unable to knock off the Cardinal since the Pilots' last championship run in 2005.

That streak will continue as the Pilots were smothered defensively by Stanford 2-0 on Sept. 15, with UP able to get only two shots off the entire game.

"Stanford is a very good team and their ranking is well deserved," head coach Garrett Smith said. "It makes me feel good we still competed defensively with them and tried to run our stuff."

The Pilots bounced back later in the weekend, taking out their frustration on USC at Merlo Field on Sept. 18, beating them 2-1 and raising their overall record to 4-4-1.

"We never gave up against Stanford, and it showed us that we can compete on that level," senior defender Kassi McCluskie said. "We came out ready against USC and showed what we can do when we play for a full 90 minutes."

UP struggled offensively against Stanford's attacking zone defense and were clearly outmatched against their speed.

However, the Pilots did complete well on defense against Stanford, holding them scoreless until the 39th minute when Stanford was able to take the lead on a free kick. UP was finally put to rest in the 74th minute when Stanford forward Kristy Zurmuhlen fired in a high shot from 20 yards away that sailed over senior goal-keeper Hailee DeYoung's hands into the high left corner.

The final score would have been a lot worse for UP if DeYoung didn't contribute eight saves including several close calls.

"This was a hard team to play against," freshman forward Emily Sippel said. "Their possessive offense is really their best part of their defense, they really made it difficult to even control the ball."

UP bounced back a couple nights later against USC, scoring their earliest goal of the season in the third minute of the game off the leg of sophomore mid-fielder Ellen Parker. Parker fired in a shot from 18 yards out after being set up nicely by fellow sophomore forward Micaela Capelle to take the lead 1-0.

USC struck back in the 16th minute to tie the game 1-1 as DeYoung was able to make a diving stop, but couldn't recover for the rebound. The second half started out the same way and with the same results for UP as Capelle, again focused on passing, drew USC's goalkeeper toward her before firing a pass to wide-open sophomore forward Amanda Frisbee for the game winner in the open net in the 48th minute.

USC had a chance to tie the game again in the 53rd minute as USC defender Kristina Noriega was almost able to head in a free kick. Fortunately for UP, the ball bounced on the wrong side of the goal-line before being headed to safety by senior defender Michelle Olivier.

"We really got back to playing our game today," Smith said. "We were attacking and trying not to give anything on defense. We need to build on today and carry it forward to the next game."

Capelle's two assists against USC raise her total for the season to four, making her the team leader in assists. It was also Frisbee's second goal of the season, and a game winner, just as her first goal was.

UP will head away from Portland on their longest road trip of the season this week as they travel to face off against No. 15 UC-Irvine (6-2-1) on Thursday at 7 p.m. and will play again Sunday against Cal State Northridge at 2 p.m. The team will then travel to face BYU (5-3-2) for their first WCC inner-conference game of the season on Oct. 6, their first match against BYU since they joined the WCC. The Pilots finally return home to play against San Diego (5-4-0) on Oct. 14.

No. 15 ranked UC-Irvine has lost only to Stanford and St. Mary's this year.

UC-Irvine has also beaten quality teams like Santa Clara, Mississippi State, Hawaii and Texas A&M.

BYU has proved to be strong this season, beating University of Arizona, tying No. 19 University of Washington and taking No. 2 Oklahoma State to overtime before falling 2-1. The length of this trip as well as the quality of opponents will make this a tough road test for the Pilots and a chance for UP to climb higher in the Top 25 rankings.