LaBonta's two goals rescue No. 1 Cardinal

[STANFORD-UCLA] Sophomore Lo’eau LaBonta scored two second-half goals on rebounds off corner kicks by Courtney Verloo to give No. 1 Stanford 2-1 comeback win over Pac-12 rival UCLA in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals Friday night. The Cardinal, the 2011 national champion, advanced to its fifth consecutive NCAA College Cup.
 
UCLA opened the scoring on a 25-yard shot by Sam Mewis in the eighth minute, but LaBonta tied the match in the 55th minute when a shot by Sydney Payne to the far post was redirected by LaBonta from point-blank range.
 
LaBonta scored the winner when a shot by Alex Doll was blocked into her path, and she put the ball away easily from five yards in the 69th minute.
 
“I think UCLA’s a fantastic team, and they came out strong and put us under pressure, and I think it was a big wake-up call for us," said Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe.  "And then at halftime, we had to straighten things out, make a couple of adjustments, and then I think the internal leadership as a team came through with a strong senior class and some amazing leaders, and then you saw that leadership come through.”

The goals were the fourth and fifth of the season for LaBonta, who didn't score in a freshman season during which her playing time was limited by injuries.

“I’m very happy for Lo’eau," said Ratcliffe. "Lo’eau’s a really talented player and I knew she was capable the entire year and she hasn’t scored as many as I thought she would. And then today, she got hot, was in the right place at the right time, and then put two away.”

The victory extended Stanford’s home unbeaten streak to 67. It was also the Cardinal's seventh win in a row over the Bruins and third in four years in the NCAA Tournament.

“In a heavyweight battle like we saw tonight we knew the momentum was going to change both way, back and forth and back and forth," said UCLA coach B.J. Snow. "Ultimately you want to have that momentum at the end of the game. I think we grabbed the momentum back late when we were trying to equalize. The girls were prepared, they came out energized, they were full of enthusiasm and we needed to press them. You can’t just sit back and let a team like Stanford play."

Nov. 23 in Stanford, Calif.
Stanford 2 UCLA 1. Goals: LaBonta (Payne) 55, LaBonta 69; Mewis (Killion) 8
Stanford -- Oliver, Garciamendez, Quon, Thompson, Liedle, Watkins, Nogueira, Doll, Verloo, Ubogagu, LaBonta. Subs: Sydney Payne, Romine, Farr, Case.
UCLA -- Rowland, Dydasco, Dahlkemper, Lee, Courtnall, Richmond, Killion, Mewis, Bywaters, White, Smith. Subs: McCarthy, Cline, Oyster.
Att.: 1,930.
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