Courtney Verloo scored two second-half goals Friday night as top-ranked Stanford held off No. 17 Santa Clara 2-1 to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women's soccer tournament.

Verloo, who suffered a season-ending knee injury three days before the first game last season, got her ninth and 10th goals of 2012 at rainy Cagen Stadium.

"It feels great to finally be back," she said.

Stanford (19-1-1) will play Denver in the third round Sunday at 1 p.m. The Pioneers (17-2-4) upset No. 9 Maryland 3-2 when Nicholette Digiacomo completed a hat trick with a 28-yard shot in the first overtime period.

Santa Clara (12-4-6) gave Stanford little breathing room when closing to 2-1 with 14 minutes left on a crafty header by Dani Weatherholt. Then goalkeeper Emily Oliver blocked a promising shot in front of the net with 9:53 left as Stanford eliminated the Broncos for the third time in four years.

Santa Clara coach Jerry Smith was disappointed to lose but not in the way his team played.

"Any time you can play the national champion dead even" it's a strong performance, he said. "Verloo's second goal, you can't defend that."

Verloo struck the game-winner in the 60th minute with a blistering 25-yard shot that hit the crossbar and bounced into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.


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"I just saw an opening," she said. "I questioned it for a while. I thought it was going over the net."

Instead it curled inside to help Stanford extend its home unbeaten streak to 64 games, second longest in NCAA history.

Stanford broke through in the 51st minute when Chioma Ubogagu held possession in the penalty box before finding Verloo. She put the ball into the right corner of the net.

"We never settled," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "But we showed great character."

  • Tiffany Hurst scored in the 83rd minute, giving San Diego State (21-1-1) a 2-1 soccer win over visiting Cal (16-6) in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick scored in the 12th minute to give Cal a 1-0 lead. The Aztecs will host UCLA (17-2-2) on Sunday.

  • Rachel Williams had 16 kills, and No. 1 Stanford (25-3, 17-1 Pac-12) rebounded from a loss to USC with a 25-22, 25-18, 15-25, 27-25 women's volleyball win at No. 8 UCLA (21-6, 13-5).

  • No. 8 USC (26-4, 14-4 Pac-12) rallied for a 23-25, 25-21, 18-25, 29-27, 15-10 women's volleyball win over visiting Cal (14-14, 8-10). Shannon Hawari had 20 kills for the Bears.

    Winter sports

    Pilot Steven Holcomb raced to his second straight World Cup two-man bobsled win, pairing with Curtis Tomasevicz to edge U.S. teammates Cory Butner and Charles Berkeley (Walnut Creek) in Park City, Utah. Monterey pilot Nick Cunningham was 15th.

  • Alex Tuckerman scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, and the San Francisco Bulls beat the Idaho Steelheads 4-2 at the Cow Palace.

    Wire services contributed to this report.