STANFORD, Calif. – The Auburn soccer team (8-7-5) put up a valiant effort against top-seeded Stanford (20-1-0) but ultimately dropped a 2-0 decision against the Cardinal Friday night at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
“I’m really proud of my team,” said head coach Karen Hoppa. “We fought back and battled but just couldn’t get one to fall. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort. (Stanford) is the best team in the country, and we had a great performance tonight.”
The Auburn defensive unit held the nation’s highest-scoring offense to nearly half its average on the season, led by a career-high 11 saves from goalkeeper Sarah Le Beau – one more than she recorded earlier this season against North Carolina.
“Sarah was tremendous,” Hoppa said. “It was going to take something special to beat her, and it did. Our defensive effort was really good. We held strong and gave ourselves a chance.”
After the two teams battled to a scoreless tie in the first half, Stanford broke through with a volley inside the box in the 58th minute to take a 1-0 lead. The Cardinal then doubled its lead to the eventual final score of 2-0 as Catarina Macario hit a right-footed strike inside the far post in the 67th minute.
Gadson tried to cut into the Stanford lead as she nearly snuck one inside the near post from a difficult angle on the goal line in the later stages of the match, but the shot went off the post.
The tournament run marks the end of an era for the Auburn senior class that helped lead the program to its first NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight appearance in each of the last two seasons and became the first class in program history to win a NCAA Tournament match in each of its four seasons.
“Whenever you come into a program as a class, it’s always a goal to leave the program better than you found it,” Hoppa added. “This class has certainly done that, and I’m really proud of them. They are a tremendous group, and we’re going to miss them.”