#ThursdayGoals women's soccer preview: No. 22 Colorado at No. 3 Stanford

CUBuffs.com / StanfordPhotos.com

Who: No. 22 Colorado at No. 3 Stanford

When: Thursday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. PT/ 7p.m. MT. with Jason Knapp and Alyson Wagner

This week's #ThursdayGoals takes us back to Stanford, where the Cardinal will try to hand the Buffs their first conference loss in a top-25 matchup.

The home team: Stanford (12-1-1, 5-1-1 Pac-12)

Stanford knows know to grind out wins, posting a near-perfect record blemished only by a shutout loss to USC on Oct. 6. It also snapped a 269-game streak in which Stanford didn't allow more than two goals.

Since the loss to USC, the Cardinal has given up four goals over two nerve-wracking wins. The Stanford machine will be without two major cogs Thursday, too. Andi Sullivan, the team's leading goal-scorer (6), and goalkeeper Jane Campbell will be in Utah working with the U.S. Women's National Team as they prepare for matches against Switzerland.

Stanford has more than enough depth, though, to pull out a win. Jordan DiBiasi, who shares the top spot with Sullivan in the goal scoring category, will lead the offense. Back-up goalie Alison Jahansouz will get her shot in the spotlight – she's allowed three goals in six appearances. 

Despite the absence of two key players, Stanford has the talent to hand Colorado its first conference loss. History is sure on its side: The Cardinal is 7-0 against the Buffs all time, outscoring them 18-3. 

The visiting team: Colorado (12-3-0, 6-0-0 Pac-12)

The Buffaloes, though, are well-equipped for an upset.

Colorado has been flying below the radar despite one of the program's best starts in years. A gutsy win over Washington, propelled by Danica Evans' brace, pushed Colorado to a No. 22 ranking – the program's highest since its No. 20 rank in September of 2009. 

"We didn't hang our heads, we kept pushing and Danica (Evans) had a poacher's goal," coach Danny Sanchez said after the win. "To get on the end of it and flick the ball with the outside of her foot was just classy. I think it says that this is a resilient group. I think we saw the resilience in the second half. But we know with the games we have coming up we will have to do better." This Buffs team has a lot of fight, but a matchup against Stanford (and Cal thereafter) could be its toughest conference roadblock yet. Colorado could take advantage of a depleted Stanford starting squad to get the win.

Stanford players to watch:

Kyra Carusa - F - redshirt sophomore: Carusa recorded her team-leading eighth assist in Stanford's last win over Oregon State. With Sullivan out of the game, Carusa will need to maintain her consistent offensive production against Colorado. 

Averie Collins - F - sophomore: Collins accumulated two goals and an assist over her previous 13 games, but came alive in against Oregon State, recording her first career brace that included the game-winning goal as the 90th minute expired. Stanford could really benefit from that kind of burst again Thursday.  We'll see if the energy translates. 

Alison Jahansouz - GK - redshirt sophomore: With Campbell kickin' it in Utah alongside U.S. soccer greats, Jahansouz will get her second start in at goal. The Huntington Beach, California native will have to hold off a potent offense, responsible for keeping alive Stanford's streak of allowing no more than two goals in a game at home. She's given up three goals, but also has three saves this year including a penalty kick save that preserved Stanford's shutout win over Washington. 

Colorado players to watch:

Danica Evans - F - senior: Evans is coming off a big, two-goal game against Washington. That spectacular outing upped her stock – Evans now has seven goals and five assists on the sason. And she doesn't even lead the team! Will she continue the hot streak? 

Taylor Kornieck - M - freshman: A reminder that Kornieck is a freshman and has scored 10 goals this season. She's the favorite to go off against Stanford. 

Sarah Kinzner - M - sophomore: Kinzner could be the secret X-factor heading into this match. She's been a consistent force on offense, tallying four goals and three assists this season.

Storylines to watch

Will Colorado remain undefeated in conference play? Will Stanford maintain it's historic reign over the Buffs despite a depleted lineup? The story is all baked into the matchup itself. 

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