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Stanford’s women’s soccer season ends in the Final Four | News

Top-ranked Stanford’s season ended with a 2-0 loss to Florida State in the College Cup women’s soccer semifinals at WakeMed Soccer Park on Friday night.

“Credit Florida State for really bringing it tonight and earning the result,” Cardinal coach Paul Ratcliffe said. “This team has had an incredible season and I’m so proud of all they’ve accomplished from start to finish.”

Averie Collins/Stanford Athletics

Stanford (21-1-2) was victimized by first-half goals by Gabby Carle and Malia Berkely. The Cardinal was unable to answer and its 45-match unbeaten streak, fifth-longest in NCAA history, came to a close. It was Stanford’s first loss since Aug, 25, 2017, a 3-2 setback at Florida.

Stanford’s best chance came moments after the first goal, when Sam Hiatt dropped a ball back to Michelle Xiao after a corner kick. Xiao guided a shot toward the upper left corner, only for Seminoles’ goalkeeper Caroline Jeffers to parry the shot away.

Stanford was seeking to become the first school to win back-to-back NCAA titles since North Carolina in 2008-09, but met its match with Florida State (19-4-3), which controlled possession for much of the game, taking the Cardinal out of its own game.

Ratcliffe said in a halftime interview on ESPNU that the Cardinal needed more patience, to set a higher defensive line, and to control the tempo.

The Cardinal did put together some good chances in the second half. Early on, open shots by Madison Haley and Catarina Macario went high. A Macario free kick in the 80th minute met the head of Jordan DiBiasi, but the shot was wide left. And a final Macario shot, in the final minute, slipped wide right.

Stanford outshot the Seminoles, 12-11, but it wasn’t enough to offset the first-half goals: Carle opened the scoring at 28:04 when she drifted from the right sideline to the top of the box before unleashing a shot that snuck inside the right post. Berkely’s goal was a buckling shot from long distance at 41:43.

The match ended the Cardinal careers of its five graduating seniors: Averie Collins, Alana Cook, DiBiasi, Tegan McGrady and Xiao.

Cook started every match of her collegiate career, 93 in all, in central defense. Cook, DiBiasi and Macario are among the 15 semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top player in college soccer.

This was Stanford’s ninth trip to the College Cup, but the Pac-12 champion Cardinal was unable to reach the NCAA final for fifth time.

Florida State and North Carolina meet Sunday for the national title.

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