The Stanford Cardinal are NCAA Champions, and the team's crown is well-deserved. This is easily the most complete team to play all year long. The Stanford ladies were able to get the job done and defeat UCLA for the second time this season. Their offense was an unstoppable force this season, but their defense deserves even more credit for becoming an immovable object. As a team, they allowed nine goals the entire season, and their backline was led by star sophomore, Tierna Davidson.
Davidson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA College Cup and rightfully so. The Cardinal allowed one goal all tournament, and it was to Utah Valley. Davidson is most definitely this week’s WCW.
While she is only a sophomore, Davidson played almost every single minute of this season, and she’s been dominant from the word go. She seems destined for a place in the USWNT sometime soon. She was Pac-12 Defender of the Year, first-team all-conference and named an All-American. Davidson was by far one of the best players in the nation and the centerpiece for Paul Ratcliffe’s defense.
— Stanford Women's Soccer (@StanfordWSoccer) November 8, 2017
Not everything was perfect early on in the season for Stanford. The team's only loss of the season was a 3-2 to Florida. Allowing three goals won’t make any coach happy. However, since that loss, Stanford’s defense went on their own incredible run. After a hard-fought 2-1 win over Santa Clara, the Cardinal would go on to allow just two goals in Pac-12 play. No wonder they won the conference title.
Once they won the Pac-12, it was smooth sailing throughout the tournament, and Stanford could be at ease because of how strong their defense was. When it mattered the most against the best competition, the Cardinal defense shut the door. They kept clean sheets against Florida State, Penn State and UCLA, all elite teams with title aspirations. Even the two goals they allowed against UCLA were dead ball situations, the penalty kick and a flick-on off a corner kick.
Davidson was a cornerstone for Stanford this year, and her ability as a defensive anchor made all the difference for the Cardinal this season. Stanford is a National Champion again, and the program owes a big thank you to Davidson for her play this season.