At first glance, the contortion of the body and the tangle of legs associated with the flip throw-in seems gimmicky, a gymnast’s plaything dragged onto the soccer field. In the right hands, however, this maneuver, designed to launch the ball over huge distances into opposing penalty boxes, can be deadly.
The Stanford men’s and women’s soccer teams each have something to prove as both Cardinal squads face UCLA tonight.
The women, coming off of a devastating loss to Arizona State Sunday night, come into the game as the underdogs for the first time this season, having fallen to No. 5 on the NSCAA Coaches’ Poll rankings, with the Bruins ranked second. The men, for their part, must show that they can continue their solid play and maintain a presence in the Pac-12 standings going up against the No. 10 Bruins.
On Friday night, freshman forward Jordan Morris netted an overtime winner in the 95th minute to seal a 2-1 Stanford (5-1-1) victory over the Gauchos (4-4-0) in front of a raucous crowd on the first weekend of school.
For most teams, an overtime loss in the NCAA semifinals to the eventual champions would make for a successful end to the season. Most teams, however, aren’t like Stanford women’s soccer. The Cardinal has appeared in five straight NCAA College Cups dating back to 2008, and after winning the national championship in 2011, falling short in 2012 was a tough pill to swallow.
Even with the NCAA tournament all but officially out of reach, Stanford men’s soccer will get to end its season with a meaningful game as they travel to Berkeley to face the rival Golden Bears today.