#ThursdayGoals women's soccer preview: No. 3 Stanford at Arizona
Who: No. 3 Stanford at Arizona
When: Thursday, October 27 at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network with Rich Cellini and Cobi Jones
This week's #ThursdayGoals takes us down to Tucson, where the Wildcats will try to topple standings leader Stanford on their home turf.
The home team: Arizona (7-8-1, 2-6-0 Pac-12)
The Wildcats are coming off an uneven trip to Oregon, losing to the Ducks 1-0 before capturing a 3-0 win over the Beavers for their second conference win of the season. The 'Cats will return to Tucson hoping to find a winning stride – they haven't won consecutive games in a row since beating Northern Illinois and San Francisco in early September.
But history is stacked against them. Arizona's all-time record against Stanford is an intimidating 2-20 and they've only been able to tally conference wins against bottom-dwelling Washington State and Oregon State.
At the end of the day, numbers are just numbers. History does not always repeat itself. The 'Cats have the talent to put up a good fight and, maybe, an upset.
The away team: Stanford (14-1-1, 7-1-0 Pac-12)
Stanford is holding a steady reign atop the Pac-12 standings, not to mention the national ranks. The #ThursdayGoals regualrs have been the perennial team-to-beat this season.
The Cardinal has a star-studded roster stuffed with potential contributers down throughout and rank 17th in the nation in average goals per game (2.31), while only allowing their opponents a .88 goals per game average.
Stanford statistically overpowers its opponents side-by-side in nearly every category: They've scored 37 goals to their opponents' 14, taken 273 shots to their opponents' 125 and average 17.1 shots per game to the opponents' 7.8. It's up to the Wildcats Thursday to be aggressive early to avoid a classic Stanford smothering.
Arizona players to watch:
Jaden DeGracie-Bailey - MF - senior: Arizona will need DeGracie-Bailey to anchor the offensive attack. The senior midfielder holds the program record for assists (24), including five this season.
DeGracie-Bailey's assist on the second goal by Stevens is the 24th assist of her career #BuildingALegacy
— Arizona Soccer (@ArizonaWSoccer) October 23, 2016
DeGracie-Bailey can do the flip throw in, which is not only cool to see, but often productive.
Gabi Stoian - MF - junior: Stoian leads the team in goals (5), points (15) and, with DeGracie-Bailey, assists (5). She's the Wildcats' offensive engine, unafraid to attack the goal (29 SOG). Her aggressive approach could be a tipping point against Stanford.
Lainey Burdett - GK - sophomore: Burdett has recorded six shutouts in her 13 starts this season, posting a 75.9 save percentage and 1.07 GAA. Here's a spectacular save she had against Oregon:
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 21, 2016
Stanford players to watch:
Andi Sullivan - MF - junior: Always keep an eye on Sullivan. The productive midfielder is on the Mac Hermann watch list for good reason: Her six goals and five assists are good for a team-leading 17 points. Sullivan has a lot of talent around her, but the junior anchors this potent offense. Sullivan has returned to Stanford on a high note, too. The 20-year-old played 15 minutes in at midfield for the USWNT against Switzerland and managed to catch coach Jill Ellis' eye.
Averie Collins - F - sophomore: Last week's Offensive Pac-12 Player of the Week is a perennial threat up top, and she's getting scarier. Collins has scored five goals and attempted nine shots in her last eight games.
Kyra Carusa - F - redshirt sophomore: Karusa has been consistently aggressive up top. She leads the team with eight assists and has scored three goals on 34 attempts (15 SOG). Carusa's latest goal was a beauty:
— Stanford Soccer (@StanfordWSoccer) October 23, 2016