San Diego • The No. 4 BYU women’s soccer team finally suffered its first loss of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The Cougars, who entered the NCAA Tournament as the only undefeated team left in the country, were eliminated from the postseason in the quarterfinals by No. 1 Stanford with a 5-1 loss on Friday.
“Stanford is such a great team with great individual players and they have been well-coached. They’ve been playing at this level for so long now,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We didn’t pull the trigger and for some reason we did not get our shots off today and you can’t allow that against a team like this.”
It was just the third time BYU (21-1-1) advanced to the Elite Eight in what has been a historic season.
The Cougars’ 21 wins ties for the second-most victories in a single season. BYU’s most wins (22) came in 1996.
BYU dominated the start of the game and had two early shots, but Lizzy Braby's was blocked while Sarajayne Affleck's went wide.
Then, Stanford started putting on a clinic.
The Cardinal scored four unanswered goals in the first half and BYU wasn’t able to recover. Stanford has yet to lose a match at home since being eliminated in the second round in a double-overtime nail-biter to Santa Clara on Nov. 18, 2016.
Going into the quarterfinals, Stanford was also the only team that had scored more than BYU this season. With Friday’s five goals, the Cardinal have 98 goals this season, while the Cougars finished with 81.
Stanford got the scoring started on a shot by Catarina Macario, the nation’s top goal scorer, in the 17th minute. The junior forward added her second goal of the game, and 32nd of the season, 13 minutes later.
Junior midfielder Kiki Pickett finished up a play to score her second goal of the year and redshirt junior Sam Tran netted a header for the Cardinal’s 4-0 halftime lead.
Early in the second half, Stanford added to its total on a BYU own goal. A shot was deflected by Cougar defender Alyssa Jefferson, but keeper Sabrina Davis was unable to readjust in time after the ball skimmed Jefferson’s back foot and changed direction.
BYU finally got on the scoreboard with a goal from Danika Serassio in the 64th minute. Serassio's shot hit the underside of the crossbar and was scooped up by Stanford's backup goalkeeper Lauren Rood, but the official ruled the ball had crossed the line.
The Cougars ended up getting outshot 33-9 (15-3 on goal).
Stanford will be joined by UCLA, North Carolina and Washington State in the College Cup in San Jose, Calif., on Dec. 6-8.