Men’s soccer begins conference play with trip to Cal
No. 3 Stanford men’s soccer (7-1, 0-0 Pac-12) will visit its rivals across the bay this Sunday as it takes on the California Golden Bears (5-2, 0-0 Pac-12). Both teams are looking for a quality win to continue building success as they begin conference play.
After losing their season opener to UC Santa Barbara, the Cardinal have caught fire and will be looking for their eighth consecutive win this weekend.
Stanford has established itself as a top-three program with a stout defensive line anchored by senior Brandon Vincent. The Cardinal have shut out five of their last seven opponents, including a 1-0 overtime win against Davidson this past Sunday.
Cal, on the other hand, likes to control the midfield and possess the ball forward, particularly on the wings. The Golden Bears have scored 14 goals in their five wins and lead the Pac-12 with 2.14 goals per game despite having recorded the fewest number of shots in the conference.
However, they rank toward the bottom of the conference in most defensive categories, yielding more shots on goal than any other team. Like the Bears, Stanford’s offense flows primarily through the wings, especially when Vincent makes runs on the left side of the pitch. Despite generating quality shots from outside runs, the Cardinal sometimes have difficulty finishing their chances, a problem that will be magnified as leading goal-scorer Jordan Morris misses time while playing for the U.S. U-23 team.
While Stanford has executed its plan of pushing the outside backs forward to create extra options for the center midfielders, Cal has had consistency issues throughout the season. It dropped its first game while ranked as a top-25 team to Santa Clara due to defensive communication issues. Still, the Bears are capable of competing at an elite level, as they have shown in brief periods during the season.
The Golden Bears host Stanford this Sunday at 4 p.m.
Women’s soccer hopes to maintain offensive form in weekend road trip
No. 5 Stanford women’s soccer (7-2-0) is headed to the desert this weekend for a two-game road series against No. 17 Arizona (8-1-1) and Arizona State (4-4-0).
Fresh off a 4-1 road victory over Utah in their conference opener last Friday, the Cardinal will hope to find their offensive rhythm early against their Pac-12 opponents. Stanford had scored just one regulation goal in three games before its trip to Salt Lake City, a streak which had seen the team lose to Santa Clara for the first time since 2006. Sophomore Kyra Carusa and freshman Averie Collins stepped up to make an impact on the scoring sheet against the Utes, and the team will hope to continue seeing the success of this balanced attack as it continues conference play.
Arizona State’s defense could prove an amenable target for Stanford’s forwards. After starting 4-0, the Sun Devils have dropped their last four straight, a period in which they allowed opponents an average of two goals a game while only finding the net three times themselves. The team has heavily missed the attacking presence of all-conference forward Cali Farquharson, who had netted five goals for the team in its first six matches before she suffered a hamstring injury.
The Wildcats’ defense may prove to be of a different caliber, however. Arizona has only allowed four goals in nine matches and the team has earned a remarkable five clean sheets, the most recent of which came against No. 23 Washington. Stanford will hope its own defense can continue making big stops as it searches for a way past reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week Sheaffer Skadsen and the Wildcats’ back line.
Stanford takes on Arizona State this Friday at 7 p.m. and Arizona on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Men’s water polo travels to USC to continue its perennial rivalry with the Trojans
No. 2 Stanford men’s water polo (12-1) will be traveling to Los Angeles on Saturday to take on No. 3 USC (11-1). USC’s only loss of the season came at the hands of the Cardinal on Sept. 20 on The Farm in the semifinal round of the Kap7 NorCal Invitational, a hard-fought 6-5 Stanford victory.
The Cardinal have a back-and-forth history with the Trojans, and, in the past few years, have left the pool with losses in the games that mattered the most.
In September 2013, a then-No. 5 Stanford lost 8-7 to then-No. 1 USC in overtime at the NorCal Invitational. In November of that year, the Cardinal returned to Los Angeles with vengeance to snag a 17-16 overtime victory, only to fall the Trojans 10-8 in the MPSF Championship game the next month.
The Cardinal faced a similar fate last season. The team beat USC in October with a nail-biting 11-10 victory and defeated them again with a decisive 7-4 win in the MPSF semifinals in November.
However, when the stakes were even higher at the NCAA Semifinals, the Cardinal couldn’t manage a repeat performance and lost 12-11 to the Trojans in sudden-death overtime, holding Stanford out of the top two for the sixth year in a row.
This year’s USC team is coming hot off of a 17-9 win over No. 7 Long Beach State last Saturday in its first home game of the season. Likewise, Stanford finished the weekend with a dominating performance at the Aggie Shootout, coming away with a four game sweep against Concordia University (20-3), UC Davis (18-6), Santa Clara (18-5), and San Jose State (20-5).
The game will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center and will air live on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Irving Rodriguez at irodriguez ‘at’ stanford.edu, Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu and Laura Stickells at lauraczs ‘at’ stanford.edu.