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Stanford Reaches for Redemption with 40+ Point Win

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Stanford Reaches for Redemption with 40+ Point Win

Photo courtesy of Laura Lorenz

Stanford found the redemption it was looking for from its last match against UC Davis by beating Cal by over 40 points Saturday.

(The exact score is in dispute - it was either 55-10 or 51-10 - we're trying to confirm.) Stanford went into the Cal game determined to show the loss to UC Davis was a hiccup, and they did well, attacking space and making the most out of the opportunities handed to them.

“We wanted to be able to go out there and look to play the rugby we can,” Stanford coach Josh Sutcliffe said.

Stanford's ball handling and passing were much improved from their loss to Davis, as the women hit their targets and took the passes at pace. The positional change of Madda Wilson from outside to inside center also helped, said Sutcliffe. And with No. 8 Julia Howell powering through Cal’s defense, followed by the connection within the hinge of scrumhalf Olivia Bernadel-Huey and flyhalf Dani McDonald to pass out to Wilson’s speed, Stanford appeared unstoppable.

"There was some let down in our defense," Cal coach Mari Triplett said. "In the first half, we put up a good fight, but Stanford came at us in the second half."

Sutcliffe pointed out that this was Stanford’s first game on turf this season, but that didn't make them perfect. They were inconsistent in their defensive launch because their scrums and lineouts seemed uncertain. Yet, the backs made up for this with a number of weakside tries. McDonald walked away with a hat trick and Howell punched two in as well.

Cal was able to build enough pressure close to the line for prop Abby Vogel and rookie No. 8 Cathy Cai to break up the score line with a try a piece. However after the close match with Chico State, the point differential of 40+ was unexpected. Cal's mental toughness seemed to weaken as the game continued. The women spent the majority on defense, although their alignment and recognition of overloads was what Triplett expected they would be. Once on offense, Cal became too reliant on pick-and-gos in the forward pack.

"We just need to add more tools to the toolbox," Triplett said.

Cal is scheduled to play UC Davis this weekend and Stanford will be playing Chico State. After seeing the results from the Stanford v Chico State game, the reason for the 40 point drop in Cal’s score line may become clear.