By Dylan Fugel
Stanford men’s soccer (8-6-3, 2-5-2 Pac-12) continued its efforts to secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament over the past weekend on its trip through the Pacific Northwest. Though the Cardinal fell to the No. 3 Washington Huskies (13-1-4, 6-1-2), it rebounded with a victory over conference cellar-dweller Oregon State (7-9-2, 0-7-2).
The three points secured from the weekend’s fixture keep the Cardinal in the hunt for an at-large bid, and the rebound victory will certainly help the team’s confidence ahead of its final game against Bay Area rival No. 4 Cal (12-3-2, 6-2-1).
The road trip opened with another tough loss for the Card, all of whose losses have come at the hands of top-five teams. In what was a very testy and physical game featuring 28 fouls, Washington ended up coming away with a comfortable 2-0 victory, keyed by freshman forward Mason Robertson’s header goal in the 30th minute and sophomore defender Ian Lange’s goal late in the game.
Overall, the game had few shots end up on target for either side, but Washington made the most of the limited chances. Stanford continued its trend of near misses, with senior midfielder JJ Koval driving one wide and freshman forward Jordan Morris heading just over the bar after a Stanford cross. The loss once again showed that Stanford is able to compete with the best teams in the country but has not been able to finish on key chances.
Only two days after the loss, Stanford traveled down to Corvallis, Ore., to play the Beavers in a game that approached must-win status for Stanford to have a chance at building a postseason-worthy. In a manner befitting Stanford, which has made a trend of enduring overtime games and tight contests over the past few weeks, the game went to extra time before sophomore defender Brandon Vincent pounced on a loose ball in the box to notch the game winner and his first goal of the campaign.
Stanford had ridden its luck up to that point, having seen the Beavers miss their fair share of chances to put away the match. Oregon State forward Zach Striar forced a solid save from senior goalie Drew Hutchins, while junior midfielder Mike Reckmeyer saw his curled shot barely miss the frame of the goal. However, it took the Card only a minute of overtime to get the crucial goal and, in so doing, secure three much-needed points.
Stanford’s season will conclude on Wednesday when its hosts Cal at Cagan Stadium. Cal defeated Stanford 1-0 in Berkeley earlier this season.
Contact Dylan Fugel at dfugel ‘at’ stanford.edu.