Monthly Archives: February 2015

Stanford Beat Bears in Big Game Rematch


Following a previously close encounter earlier in the year, when Stanford beat Cal on the final play of the game 27-26, Stanford defeated Cal soundly 62-5 victory.  The win clinches first place in the Pacific Mountain Conference for Stanford, extending their record to 5-0, with one game to play vs. Chico State.


Stanford started the game on fire, with two quick tries in the opening six minutes from Olivia Bernadel-Huey and Dani McDonald to take a 10-0 lead.  The game slowed down at that point, and despite consistent Stanford pressure, points weren’t realized again until Kathryn Treder crossed over in the 27th minute.  Nikki Richardson hit her first of six conversion of the day for 17-0 Stanford lead.  Treder would score her second just before the half, and Stanford went into the break up 22-0.


Despite the strong lead, Stanford had left multiple opportunities on the table, primarily due to handling errors halting the Stanford attack.  The second half was far more clinical from the Cardinal, and the Stanford attack found a more precise and quickly flowing rhythm.  Stanford would cross the line six times in the second period, one each from Chelsey Sveinsson, Madda Wilson, Maki Asrat, Julia Howell, Esther Melton and Richardson. Stanford did concede one try in the second period from a turnover they were unable to recover from, but otherwise kept a potentially potent Cal back line attack at bay.


For Stanford, this was one of their best performances of the season.  More clinical with the ball in hand, they often took Cal through continuous phases that led to large territory gains and often scores.  However, errant Stanford passes still seemed to stop Stanford more than Cal defenders, and Stanford will work to improve on continuity with the ball in hand.  In defense, Stanford was much improved from their previous encounter with the Golden Bears, showing much improved urgency in transitions and kicking exchanges to keep the quick and elusive Cal backs from opportunities with space.


In the second team game, Stanford pitched a 38-0 shutout.  Everyone contributed to an outstanding team performance, and individual standouts included Lex Schoenberg, Lia Ferguson, Kleo Greenwood, Jhori Varner, Tia Watkins, and Justice Echols. 


Next Up: Stanford (6-0/5-0) will finish Pacific Mountain Conference when they travel to play Chico State (1-3) on Saturday 3/7.  In their prior encounter this year, Stanford defeated the Wildcats 52-0.  On Sunday 3/8, Stanford will be hosting the Berkeley All Blues, traditionally one of the strongest Women’s Club teams in the Country.


Stanford Team vs. Cal:  1: Isabella Jibilian  2: Kathryn Treder 3: Chelsey Sveinsson 4: Julia Howell  5: Allie Ballesteros  6: Sasha Herbst de Cortina *Captain  7: Catherynn Vuong  8: Lai Turn 9: Esther Melton 10: Nikki Richardson 11: Dani McDonald 12: Maki Asrat  13: Madda Wilson 14: Chelsea Harris  15: Olivia Bernadel-Huey


Scoring Summary:  2: Stanford Bernadel-Huey Try   6: Stanford  McDonald Try  27: Stanford Treder Try (Richardson Conversion)  39: Stanford Treder Try  (Halftime Stanford 22 – Cal 0)  47: Stanford Sveinsson Try (Richardson Conversion) 52: Stanford Wilson Try  55: Cal Try 63: Stanford Asrat Try (Richardson Conversion)  67: Stanford Howell Try (Richardson Conversion)  73: Stanford Melton Try (Richardson Conversion)  77: Stanford Richardson Try (Richardson Conversion) (Fulltime Stanford 62 – Cal 5)

Stanford Overcomes Davis Again


Stanford defeated a fast, physical, and athletic UC Davis team for the second time this season, extending their Pacific Mountain Conference record to 4-0.  In the first encounter, Stanford staged a late come back to overcome the Aggies.  In the second showdown, after an early deficit, Stanford took a comfortable lead that Davis came back from to tie the game at the half 17-17.  However, in the second half, Stanford was able to take control of the lead and hold it all the way through, due to one of the better performances of the season from the Cardinal, and win 37-24.


From the outset, Stanford seemed to have more control of the run of play and be on the front foot.  Despite the  advantage in the flow of the game and territory Stanford was enjoying, Davis would strike first, showcasing their speed and alertness.  Stanford turned over possession near the Davis 22, and Davis countered quickly, scoring from long range through two quick phases. Stanford struck back from a great counter attack movement from a Davis kick through the Stanford backs.  Chelsea Harris spotted a gap and darted into it, dished to Madda Wilson, who offloaded to Maki Asrat who crossed over in the corner, 7-5 Davis.  Shortly after, a well earned ten phase attacking movement from Stanford led to Dani McDonald fending off an Aggie defender for the score, Nikki Richardson converted the try.  Soon after McDonald would score again, this time after Sasha Herbst de Cortina snagged  a UC Davis lineout overthrow.  With only 15 minutes to play in the half, Stanford were surging and lead 17-7.  However, the final minutes of the half belonged to Davis, as a suddenly sluggish Stanford team started fall off tackles.  In the 34th minute a poorly executed Stanford kick chase allowed the Aggies into Stanford territory, and then hard Davis running coupled with poor Stanford tackling led to a Davis try.  Minutes later, more missed tackles and a Stanford penalty saw the Aggies cross the line and tie the game just before the half at 17-17.


In the second half, Stanford began to re-assert pressure, seeing them own more territory and possession.  This led to a Richardson penalty in the 45th minute to retake the lead.  Ten minutes later, sustained pressure led to a Davis penalty from which Ether Melton darted through the defense to score, Richardson converted and Stanford was up 27-17. Davis would not go down easy, and with just over ten minutes left in the game, Davis ran straight through a slow to react Stanford defense from a quick tap penalty.  With the game now a contest again at 27-24, Stanford turned up their urgency and effort, leading to successive tries from Bernadel-Huey and Asrat, and a final score of 37-24.
In many facets today’s game was one of Stanford’s best performances of the season.  Passages of play showed resolute defense and attacking flair.  However, other moments of carelessness with the ball, inconsistent tackling, and slowness to respond from turnovers and transitions, and continued to allow an athletic and opportunistic UC Davis team into the game.


In the second team game, Stanford put in a fantastic performance leading to a 21-5 victory.  Playing short with 13 players for most of the match, Stanford were led by halfbacks Tia Watkins and Sarah Houammed, with the latter playing flyhalf for the first time.  The duo did well to keep structure and shape to the Stanford attack, and individual bright moments surfaced throughout the entire team.  Stanford got tries from Mia Hutchinson, battling through an ankle injury, Megan Andrews, beating two defenders in a great finish, and Justice Echols, capping off a great team try.  All three were converted by Allie Ballesteros. Stanford held a shutout through the entire game until Davis were able to cross the line in the final minute for a final score of 21-5 Stanford.


Next Up: Stanford (5-0/4-0) will continue Pacific Mountain Conference when they host Cal (2-2) on Saturday 2/28, as part of Parents’ Weekend and Senior Day, at Steuber Rugby Field at 3pm.  In the teams first encounter on 2/7, Cal took a 19-17  lead into the half, before Stanford climbed back into the game late, winning on a Nikki Richardson penalty kick 27-26, on the games final play.


Stanford Team vs. UC Davis:  1: Diana Rodriguez  2: Zineb Oulmaki (Isabella Jibilian)  3: Chelsey Sveinsson 4: Julia Howell  5: Daly Montgomery (Allie Ballesteros)  6: Sasha Herbst de Cortina *Captain (Kaelyn Varner) 7: Catherynn Vuong  8: Lai Turn 9: Esther Melton 10: Nikki Richardson 11: Dani McDonald 12: Maki Asrat  13: Madda Wilson 14: Chelsea Harris  15: Olivia Bernadel-Huey


Scoring Summary:  11: UC Davis Try and Conversion   15: Stanford  Asrat Try and Richardson Conversion  21: Stanford McDonald Try  24: Stanford McDonald Try  34: UC Davis Try 37: uC Davis Try  (Halftime Stanford 17 – UC Davis 17)  45: Stanford Richardson Penalty 56: Stanford Melton Try and Richardson Conversion 68: UC Davis Try and Conversion 71: Stanford Bernadel-Huey Try  76: Stanford Asrat Try

Stanford Overcomes Cal in Dramatic Style

Witter Rugby Field – Berkeley, Ca.


Stanford extended their Pacific Mountain Conference record to 3-0 by dramatically coming back to defeat Cal on the road in the final play of the game.  With only three minutes remaining, Stanford trailed by nine points, before a Stanford try and conversion was followed by a last second penalty opportunity from 20 meters out.  Stanford’s All-American flyhalf Nikki Richardson cooly slotted the make or break kick, taking the victory for the Cardinal 27-26.


The opening five minutes of the game were perhaps Stanford’s best of the day, as they worked an eighteen phase movement down to the Cal goal line.  One phase away from the line, Stanford would concede territory and Cal would clear their lines, a moment that foreshadowed an event that would occur multiple times throughout the game.  Over the next five minutes, Stanford would again get turned over a meter out from the line, then get called for a forward pass on a try.  Finally in the ninth minute, Stanford pressure led to a score.  The Stanford forwards took a Cal scrum, which the Stanford backs spun wide for a strong finish from winger Dani McDonald.  Eight minutes later it would be Cal’s turn to score from a wheeled Stanford scrum.  Cal turned over  possession and moved the ball wide on the second phase.  Cal’s fullback, a threat all day, would break a drifting Stanford defenses tackle, and finish from half way out for Cal to lead 7-5.   Stanford struck back quickly through center Madda Wilson on a weaving run through the Cal defense, Richardson converted for a 12-5 lead.   Over the next few minutes, Cal was able to enjoy one of their only extended periods of play deep in Stanford territory, but the Cardinal defense held.  Stanford would eventually get out of their half, and were again turned over right on the Cal line.  By the 33rd minute, Stanford’s pressure led to more points when lock Julia Howell crossed the line.   Stanford appeared to have a safe lead and momentum at 17-7 with minutes left in the half, and again threatened the Cal line, when they lost the handle on the ball.  Cal moved the ball wide and were able to successfully offload through three Stanford tackles to finish an eighty meter movement. Stanford responded by working the ball deep into Cal territory before again losing the handle on possession just ten meters out.  In the dying moments of the half, Stanford were turned over at the ruck in Cal territory and slow to react.  The result was another long range Cal score to close the half and give the Bears a 19-17 halftime lead.


While Stanford had the majority of field position in the first half, they dominated field position in the second half.  Almost the entire final forty minutes were played in Cal’s territory.  However, while Stanford turnovers left a number of scoring opportunities lost in the first half, those errors accelerated in the second half, when time after time possession was lost through handling errors just when it looked as if Stanford would break the Cal line.  Credit is owed to a resolute and sure tackling Cal defense who not only held Stanford out, but were able to capitalize on their errors and score from long range.  They’d do so again in the 53rd minute when an errant Stanford pass, on what looked to be another positive possession deep in Cal territory, was scooped up by Cal’s center who raced eighty meters to the goal line.  Stanford now trailed by two scores at 17-29.  The broken record of Stanford’s dominating field position squandered by turnovers continued for the rest of the half.  In fact rarely did the ball leave Cal’s third of the field.  Finally in the dying minutes, scrumhalf Esther Melton darted through the defense from a penalty, Richardson converted and Stanford trailed 24-26 with three minutes left.  Stanford handled the kickoff, kicked back into Cal territory and earned a scrum for the game’s final play.  From the second phase, a Cal infringement gave Richardson a shot at the victory from twenty meters out.  The calm kicker cleanly struck the ball through the posts for the game winner, 27-26 Stanford.


For Stanford, their second late come from behind victory in three weeks was another demonstration of the team’s resiliency and ability to play from behind.  Furthermore, Stanford was able to successfully play most of the game in Cal’s territory.  However, Stanford struggled to convert on countless opportunities.  Forced passes, handling errors and various other lost possession left countless opportunities wanting.  Furthermore, when possession was lost in Cal’s end, Stanford was slow to recover and unable to finish tackles. The result was four Cal tries from over fifty meters out, all from turnovers.  Nonetheless, while lacking precision, Stanford’s passion and urgency, particularly in the dying minutes of the game, eventually won the day, and this will be something the team will look to harness for eighty minutes in future performances.


Next Up: After a week off, Stanford (4-0/3-0) will continue Pacific Mountain Conference play by hosting UC Davis (2-1) on Saturday 2/21 at Steuber Rugby Field at 1pm.  In the teams first encounter on 1/24, UC Davis took a 12-0 lead into the half, before Stanford climbed back into the game, taking the lead and game in the final minutes.


Stanford Team vs. Cal:  1: Diana Rodriguez  2: Zineb Oulmaki  3: Chelsey Sveinsson 4: Julia Howell  5: Allie Ballesteros  6: Sasha Herbst de Cortina 7: Kaelyn Varner (Maki Asrat)  8: Lai Turn *Captain 9: Esther Melton 10: Nikki Richardson 11: Dani McDonald 12: Catherynn Vuong  13: Madda Wilson 14: Chelsea Harris  15: Olivia Bernadel-Huey


Scoring Summary:  9: Stanford McDonald Try   17: Cal Try and Conversion  21: Stanford Wilson Try and Conversion 33: Stanford Howell Try  36: Cal Try 40: Cal Try and Conversion (Halftime Cal 19-Stanford 17)  52: Cal Try and Conversion 77: Stanford Melton Try and Richardson Conversion 80: Stanford Richardson Penalty