By Jose Saldana
No. 8 Stanford men’s soccer (10-3-4, 7-1-1 Pac-12) will play its final regular season match at California (5-9-2, 1-7-1) on Friday at 1 p.m.
The Cardinal enter the game as the official Pac-12 champions, thanks to a victory by the San Diego State Aztecs over No. 11 Washington (6-3-0) on Sunday night. This season marks the third consecutive conference championship for the Cardinal. Stanford is the first team in the Pac-12 to accomplish this feat since UCLA’s four-season championship streak in 2001-04.
The Cardinal have proven themselves against the Golden Bears before. Earlier this season, the Cardinal defeated the Golden Bears at home at Cagan stadium with a 1-0 victory. Junior forward Foster Langsdorf scored the game-winning goal with a finish to the left post in the 47th minute. The Cardinal are 28-22-9 all time against the Golden Bears and unbeaten in their last six outings.
With seven conference victories, Stanford has tied for the most conference wins in the program’s history, a mark set by last season’s squad. Whether or not this team breaks the record depends on Friday’s game against the Golden Bears.
Looking for success on Friday means looking at Stanford’s dynamic offensive layout, which has revolved in large part around the Foster Langsdorf-Corey Baird combination this season. Langsdorf has scored a career-high 11 goals since the season started, which is the highest mark in the Pac-12. He also has netted a conference-high three game-winning goals.
Langsdorf’s complement, junior Corey Baird, has six total assists in the last six matches, despite failing to assist a goal-scorer in the first 11 games this season. Baird is seventh overall in assists for Stanford history, and last year he tied for second in the nation overall with 13 assists.
Stanford is also looking at Andrew Epstein to make his mark on the record books this season. The senior is third in Cardinal history with 19 shutouts and second in goals-against average (.73).
Washington snapped Stanford’s 21-game unbeaten streak at Cagan Stadium in the Cardinal’s last matchup, but Stanford still holds a sterling 26-2-8 at home in its last 36 games. The match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.