By now, you know the story. A 94-4-4 record in four years. Four trips to the College Cup. Three losses in the championship game. Four seniors who had been through it all. In their final game, Camille Levin, Lindsay Taylor, Teresa Noyola and Kristy Zurmuhlen added a championship trophy to their legacy, and the Stanford University women’s soccer team finally tasted the ultimate victory win a 1-0 win over Duke on Sunday.
Fittingly, it was Levin who assisted on the decisive goal to Noyola in the 53rd minute after Stanford had come out of halftime with a new spark, dominating possession in Duke’s half of the field. From her right back position, Levin moved forward take a pass from standout freshman Chinoa Ubogagu, brought it to the end line and spotted Noyola in front of the goal. Levin had misfired on a similiar cross earlier in the game, but this time she was on target, allowing Noyola to get her head on it and send it into the net for the 1-0 lead.
After the goal, Stanford could smell victory. After all, in their three previous trips to the Cup they were left shut out, and hadn’t lost a game when they scored a goal in over six years. They continued to add pressure and push the ball forward to Ubogagu and Rachel Quon, keeping Duke from getting much possession as the half continued, and it looked like the one goal might open a floodgate. But for Duke, it certainly wasn’t over. They had scored eighteen goals in the second half in their last ten games, and knew how to come back from behind.
After the second half media timeout, Duke came out with renewed energy and began to win back possession, draw corner kicks and crowd the box. But just as in Stanford’s semifinal match against Florida State, their defense rose to the challenge, clearing the ball away from danger, and goalkeeper Emily Oliver came up with a huge save, tipping a strike from Duke freshman forward Kelly Cobb over the bar with 12 minutes remaining.
Despite starting in a defensive position, Levin was all over the field for the Cardinal, running forward to take on Duke’s defenders in the corner, and even holding a center midfield position toward the end of the first half. Noyola was named offensive MVP of the match, and Oliver the defensive MVP, but Levin’s contributions were key for Stanford in the final game of her college career.
Now we can look forward to seeing where this senior class goes next, with buzz around Levin and Taylor as future national team candidates.