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A new pecking order? Bears down Stanford

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Monday October 16, 2000

Schott, Sabo score as Cal wins third in a row over Cardinal 


Stanford women’s soccer has been the bully of the Pac-10 playground for many years, as they have the fourth-best winning percentage in the history of women’s college soccer to go with numerous conference championships. But the bully is now being taken to school by their neighbors to the north. 

No. 9 Cal beat Stanford for the third straight time Sunday by being more aggressive in the air and going straight at the Cardinal defense. The final 2-0 score didn’t do justice to the Bears’ effort, as they were constantly on the attack and had an apparent goal called back on a questionable offsides call. 

The matchup, played in front of a Edwards Stadium record crowd of 1,582, was the first time the Bears have gone into a match against Stanford ranked higher than their opponents, as the Cardinal (8-4-1, 1-2 Pac-10) had fallen to No. 14. 

The Bears (12-1-1, 2-1) came out swinging, as forward Kyla Sabo got a breakaway chance in the first minute only to see Stanford goalie Carly Smolak turn the shot around her post with one hand. But Cal kept up the pressure, and forward Laura Schott came through with a goal in the 21st minute off of a feed from midfielder Brittany Kirk. Schott’s initial shot was parried by Smolak, but the Bears’ leading scorer controlled the rebound and put it away for her 18th goal of the season, most in the Pac-10. 

“We knew we wanted to come out and get on top of them,” Schott said. 

Following the goal, Cal fell back on the defensive for the rest of the half, looking to keep their one-goal cushion. But head coach Kevin Boyd wasn’t happy with the defensive style, and he told his team so at halftime. 

We struggle with our confidence some times against teams we know are good,” Boyd said after the game. “I told them, ‘Hey, you’re number nine in the country, you’ve been in the top 10 for four weeks straight. What else do you need to know you’re good?’ And they came out and played great in the second half.” 

With their confidence high, the Bears came out for the second half like sharks with blood in the water. Sabo and Schott drove for the goal repeatedly, and several of their shots went just wide of the target. 

Sabo, who dominated the right side of the field for most of the game, popped a pass over the Stanford defense in the 67th minute, and Schott hit the ball into the top of the net for an apparent 2-0 lead. But the referee waved the goal off, saying Schott was offsides on the play. 

Sabo then decided to take matters into her own hands five minutes later, taking the ball 30 yards from the Stanford goal, she eluded three defenders before rocketing a shot past the diving Smolak to give Cal a real two-goal lead. 

“We’ve been talking about the fact that I pass a lot, and I need to be more dangerous in the box myself, so that’s what I was trying to work on today,” Sabo said. “I just saw the corner open and shot for it.” 

Happy with the scoreline, the Bears then put their minds to keeping Zabala’s team-record 24th shutout intact, and they did just that. The Cardinal got only nine shots off in the game, almost all of them from long range, as defenders Tami Pivnik and Amy White keyed the lockdown on the vaunted Stanford strikers. 

“Amy White probably had her best game of the season,” Boyd said. “Our backline was a rock today, nothing got by them.” 

Zabala agreed with her coach. 

“I don’t think people realize how awesome our defenders have been doing. They haven’t been giving away any decent shots all year,” she said. “I think today they really showed a lot of skill and maturity.” 

With the Bears coming into the game as the favorite, the senior players saw this as a chance to really establish the program as one of the conference’s best. 

“This is exactly what I wanted when I came to Cal,” Pivnik said. “I came into a losing program, and we looked at where Stanford was and said ‘That’s where we want to be.’ And now we’re there.”