STANFORD, Calif. – The title defense began in dramatic fashion, but the Stanford women's soccer team walked away from its season opener with another victory.
The Cardinal opened the season with a come from behind victory, scoring two goals in the final eight minutes to defeat Pepperdine, 2-1. The victory is Stanford's 26th-consecutive home victory and extends the program's streak to 15 years without a season-opening loss.
"It was a fantastic afternoon (to be playing again)," said the Knowles Family Director of Women's Soccer Paul Ratcliffe. "I was so excited for the players that we were able to play a game. Pepperdine was a solid opponent, and we came through."
Down 1-0 in the 82nd minute, Stanford put on an attack looking to equalize the match. Jojo Harber sent a cross from the left side of the net, which was headed by a Pepperdine defender back towards midfield. Redshirt sophomore Sierra Enge came up with the clearance, stepped up to evade a defender, and sent an arching ball from the top of the penalty box. The ball came down just past the keeper's outstretched hands to equalize the match.
Five minutes later, the Cardinal were able to push through with the game-winning goal. Madison Haley was taken down inside the box, setting up a penalty kick opportunity. Civana Kuhlmann – playing her first game since an exhibition against Missouri in August of 2019 – converted the penalty kick attempt for the winning goal.
Stanford held on for the final three minutes to preserve the win – its first ever over Pepperdine, avenging the lone loss of the 2019 championship season.
The Waves put relentless pressure on the Cardinal backline, firing off 14 shots with six being on target. Goalkeeper Katie Meyer made five saves on the day.
With a win under their belt, Stanford will return to action next weekend at Oregon to open Pac-12 play, Feb. 26. Kickoff from Eugene will be at 6 p.m. PT from Pape Field, with the matching streaming on Oregon's live stream. The Cardinal will remain in the Beaver State to play Oregon State in a nonconference match that Sunday.