Senior midfielder Sam Werner’s 79th-minute goal gave Stanford men’s soccer (18-2-2) a more comfortable 2-0 win over Akron (18-4-2) on Friday in Philadelphia to propel the Cardinal to their third consecutive College Cup final.
Stanford will have the opportunity to be the second soccer program in NCAA history to win three consecutive national titles (Virginia 1991-94). The team will also have a chance to earn Stanford’s 115th NCAA title, which would give the Cardinal sole possession of first place in the country.
The Cardinal’s postseason shutout streak has been extended to 11 games with the win over the Zips.
The Cardinal’s first half was a dominant display of defensive pressure. Stanford took nine shots (four on goal) to Akron’s two shots (one on goal). It also managed to earn four corner kicks to zero corners for the Zips.
The theme of the first half was Stanford’s deep press forcing Akron into many mistakes, especially from its defensive line.
Stanford’s first chance for a goal came soon after the starting whistle sounded. In the first minute, sophomore midfielder Jared Gilbey took the ball from an Akron player and delivered a strike, which was saved by Zips keeper Ben Lundt.
After several more shots by the Cardinal, senior forward Foster Langsdorf struck. Senior midfielder Drew Skundrich dispossessed a Zips player. Senior midfielder Corey Baird handle the ball quickly down the right side of the ball. He centered a low lob, and Langsdorf dove and headed the ball into the back of the net for the 26th-minute score.
The goal was Langsdorf’s 14th of the year and the 37th of his collegiate career.
The Zips came on stronger at the start of the second half as their pressure caused havoc in Stanford’s side of the pitch.
Baird had a chance to double Stanford’s lead in the 52nd. He was moving into the left side of the box with no one but Zips keeper Lundt in front of him. He sent a strike that Lundt deflected out of play.
Akron had a great chance in the 61st to equalize when Zips forward David Egbo delivered a strike, which was saved by fifth-year senior Nico Corti. The ball bounced to Zips defender Niko De Vera, and he struck the ball, which again was saved by Corti. The shots were the first for Akron since the ninth.
Then, in the 79th, Werner took a deflection and drove the ball down the left side of the box. He hooked a left-footed shot over Lundt, and the ball deflected on the bottom side of the cross bar and in, giving Stanford a 2-0 lead.
Werner now has two goals in the postseason and four overall on the season. He scored in the previous game against Wake Forest.
The Cardinal move onto the College Cup final, where they play the winner of UNC vs. Indiana on Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. PT in Philadelphia. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN2.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.