Car­di­nal bid to win women’s ti­tle foiled

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Brett Friedlander Brett Friedlander is a free­lance writer. Tom FitzGer­ald is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: tfitzger­[email protected] sfchron­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @tomg fitzger­ald

CARY, N.C. — The Stan­ford women’s soc­cer team may have been in a fa­mil­iar place Fri­day in the Col­lege Cup na­tional semi­fi­nals. But it didn’t take long for the Car­di­nal to find it­self in an un­com­fort­able predica­ment against Florida State.

Af­ter trail­ing for 7½ min­utes all season, the de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pi­ons sur­ren­dered two first-half goals and never re­cov­ered on the way to a 2-0 loss to the Semi­noles be­fore a ca­pac­ity crowd of 10,439 at WakeMed Soc­cer Park.

The re­sult snapped Stan­ford’s school-record 45-game win­ning streak and ended its chance at be­com­ing the sec­ond school in the 37-year his­tory of this event to win back-to-back women’s ti­tles.

“Our game plan was to strike first and get the early lead,” se­nior mid­fielder Jor­dan DiBi­asi said. “When we went down, I thought that maybe we didn’t solve or fin­ish our chances in the first half, and we started get­ting a lit­tle frus­trated.”

It wasn’t a good day for un­beaten teams. Not only did Stan­ford go down to de­feat, but Ge­orge­town did, too, los­ing 1-0 to North Carolina in Fri­day’s first game. The Tar Heels and Semi­noles (19-4-3) will play Sun­day for the cham­pi­onship.

The Car­di­nal (21-1-2) never seemed to get com­fort­able in a per­for­mance coach Paul Rat­cliffe de­scribed as flat.

Al­though Stan­ford out­shot Florida State 12-11, only one was on goal, mak­ing things easy for Semi­noles keeper Caro­line Jef­fers.

Car­di­nal goalie Al­i­son Ja­han­souz, on the other hand, had a first half to for­get by al­low­ing more goals in one 45-minute pe­riod than she had in her four pre­vi­ous NCAA tour­na­ment games com­bined.

There wasn’t much she could do on the first Semi­noles score, net­ted by mid­fielder Gabby Carle on an in­spired ef­fort in which she split two de­fend­ers and drib­bled across the top of the box to cre­ate space be­fore rock­et­ing home a left-footed shot at the 28-minute mark.

As dam­ag­ing as that goal was, the next one knocked Stan­ford back even more.

Florida State’s Malia Berkely, who had not scored all year, sent what appeared to be a harm­less chip to­ward the net. But in­stead of a rou­tine save, Ja­han­souz’s at­tempt to punch the ball away didn’t make it over the cross­bar, send­ing it into the net.

“The sec­ond goal was the one that re­ally de­flated us, be­cause it was an un­for­tu­nate mis­take,” Rat­cliffe said. “Then it’s hard when you’re down against a team that’s

Za­jac had the only goal in Akron’s up­set of topseeded Wake For­est last week­end. The vic­tory al­lowed Stan­ford to play Fri­day night at home rather than fly­ing across the coun­try.

The Zips dom­i­nated play early on, and Za­jac cap­i­tal­ized when he nailed a shot from just inside the box that car­omed off both posts be­fore go­ing in the net in the 15th minute. The goal ended Stan­ford’s 14-game shutout streak in NCAA Tour­na­ment play. It was the first post­sea­son goal Stan­ford had al­lowed since a quar­ter­fi­nal match against Wake For­est on Dec. 5, 2015.

Late in the first half, Za­jac took a short pass from Marco Mi­lanese and split two de­fend­ers be­fore chip­ping the ball over a lung­ing goal­keeper An­drew Thomas.

In the 57th minute, Bea­son scored on a pe­nal­dors good in pos­ses­sion. They can just play keep-away a lit­tle bit.”

The Car­di­nal’s best chance in the sec­ond half came with just un­der 11 min­utes re­main­ing when lead­ing scorer Cata­rina Macario sent a free kick into the box that DiBi­asi headed over the net. The only Stan­ford shot on goal came late in the first half when Michelle Xiao’s at­tempt from close range was de­flected away with a one-handed save.

“Con­fi­dence lev­els never came around,” Rat­cliffe said. “It was just one of those quiet per­for­mances, un­for­tu­nately.”

Af­ter in­juries to key play­ers, na­tional team call-ups and other forms of ad­ver­sity, the Car­di­nal picked a bad time to have its worst game of the year.

“It hurts,” se­nior de­fender Alana Cook said. “But I think we’re go­ing to look back on all the fond mem­o­ries we’ve gained this season.” kick, mak­ing him 10for-10 on PKs in his col­lege ca­reer. Stan­ford tied it 2-2 on Ryan’s goal in the 68th minute. Fol­low­ing a free kick by Jared Gil­bey, Adam Moshar­rafa’s header glanced off the right post, al­low­ing Ryan to score from point-blank range.

Andy Mead / [email protected]

For­ward Cata­rina Macario, Stan­ford’s lead­ing scorer, and the Car­di­nal couldn’t score Fri­day.

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