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NCAAW: No. 2 Stanford defeats resilient Wisconsin side 2-1

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STANFORD, Calif. – Andi Sullivan and Kyra Carusa scored first-half goals less than two minutes apart lead No. 2 Stanford to a 2-1 victory against a resilient Wisconsin team Thursday night.

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Sullivan led the Cardinal (4-0) offensively with a goal and an assist, while Carusa netted her second goal on the season. Sullivan leads the team with five points on the year and Carusa is tied for the team-lead in goals.

Stanford’s defense did well throughout the game to limit Wisconsin’s opportunities. Maddie Bauer and Alana Cook were excellent in the center defense and regularly halted the Badgers’ attack. Tegan McGrady and Ceci Gee had nice games at outside back and were aggressive going up the wings to join Stanford’s attack.

Stanford jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Carusa scored in the 10th minute. Sullivan initiated the goal, receiving the ball in the midfield and using a crafty turn to evade an oncoming defender.

Sullivan carried the ball with speed toward the goal and slipped a perfectly paced pass into the box. Carusa ran onto the pass and added a right-footed touch to place her shot past the goalkeeper and into the left side of the net.

“It was a fantastic goal,” said Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe. “Andi did a great job of driving forward in the midfield and waiting for the right time. Kyra had a perfectly timed run and slotted it home.”

The Cardinal continued to pressure following the score and were swarming in Wisconsin’s (1-2-2) box. Averie Collins received a pass near the penalty spot and was pulled down as she turned toward goal to draw a penalty kick.

Sullivan stepped to the spot and buried a right-footed shot to the right side of the goal to put Stanford up, 2-0.

Sullivan nearly added a second goal in the 30th minute when she rocketed a left-footed half-volley on frame that Wisconsin goalkeeper, Caitlyn Clem, was able to step in front of. The shot knocked the wind out of Clem, who needed a moment after the shot to catch her breath.

The Cardinal continued to dominate the run of play in the first half, owning a 5-2 shot advantage and spending a majority of the time with the possession but could not extend its lead.

Wisconsin (1-2-2) continued to challenge the Cardinal despite the deficit and capitalized on a much more open second half. The Badgers spent more time in the final third during the second half and were rewarded in the 80th minute when Micaela Powers headed in her second goal of the year off a cross by Emily Borgmann.

“We played very well in the first half,” said Ratcliffe. “I thought we had a little of a letdown in the second half and dropped our level of intensity. Credit to Wisconsin, they pushed and scored a really nice goal to make it a challenging game.”

Stanford’s defense played well during the final 10 minutes to shut down any potential comeback effort and secure the victory.

The Cardinal looks to carry its momentum into Sunday’s match at 1 p.m. (PT) against Marquette.

“We should have a lot of confidence going into Sunday’s game,” added Ratcliffe. “Right now we’re on a good run of victories but every game we have to prove it, we have to bring it, and Marquette is going to be a strong opponent. My hope is that we’ll prepare appropriately and bring it on Sunday.”

Cardinal Facts

– Stanford improved to 3-2 all-time against Wisconsin.

– Six of Stanford’s eight goals this year have been scored by sophomores.

– Andi Sullivan has an assist in three-of-four games this season.

– Stanford holds advantages over opponents in goals (8-2), shots (66-20), shots on goal (30-9) and corner kicks (32-10).

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