No. 8 Stanford men’s soccer lost its first road game on Friday to unranked UC Santa Barbara but rebounded three days later to take down top-25 ranked Louisville.
Junior Jordan Morris recorded the team’s first goal of the season in the Stanford Cardinal’s 1-0 win over the Louisville Cardinals, while junior goalkeeper Andrew Epstein finished the match with his sixth career shutout.
“[Morris] has been working hard coming back from an injury, which can be frustrating,” said head coach Jeremy Gunn. “It wasn’t just a great reward for all the work he did tonight, but also everything he has done the past couple of weeks.”
Against the Gauchos, Stanford outshot UC Santa Barbara 12-10, but despite having a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks the team wasn’t able to convert at the net. The Cardinal had opportunities in the first half to take the lead and in the second to tie, yet ended up dropping their season opener 1-0.
“From start to finish I was pleased with major areas of our performance,” Gunn said. “That same type of performance could have allowed us to come off happy with the result, but we didn’t get the crucial goal.”
“Tough contests against excellent teams are going to be that tight. People tend to count wins before games are played and that’s quite foolish and ridiculous. Everyone is going to be a very tough contest.”
The Cardinal, however, similarly lost their season opener last season at Creighton before churning out seven straight victories and ultimately winning the Pac-12 title and a NCAA playoff berth.
On Monday, Stanford picked up a crucial win over a top-25 team, beating No. 18 Louisville in the 81st minute of play. Senior Ty Thompson, from past the midline, hit Morris running down the center of the field at the top of the box, setting him up for a one-on-one with a Louisville defender for possession. Morris, with one touch, beat the goalkeeper with a ball to the top right of the net.
“I’m extremely happy with the result, but happier with the overall performance and strength the team showed tonight,” said Gunn. “It was a tremendous game of soccer between two very good teams. Chances were at a premium and either side could have won. In all fairness, we just edged it. If it were a boxing match we might have earned the decision six rounds to four.”
The Cardinal (1-1-0) return home to Cagan Stadium on a high note for its home opener this weekend against Northeastern.
Contact Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu.