One year after an overtime win at UC-Santa Barbara, nothing much has changed for the Stanford men’s soccer team.
On Friday night, freshman forward Jordan Morris netted an overtime winner in the 95th minute to seal a 2-1 Stanford (5-1-1) victory over the Gauchos (4-4-0) in front of a raucous crowd on the first weekend of school.
“This was such a tough game in every sense,” Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn told GoStanford.com. “Santa Barbara threw everything at us, and it was an incredible effort by our players to continuously weather the storm and stay composed and play soccer when we had the opportunities to.”
Not only did the Gauchos team throw everything at the Cardinal team, but the wild 7,750-person crowd also physically threw tortillas onto the field in a usual Santa Barbara tradition. The Cardinal overcame the difficult environment and clinched a crucial victory in its final matchup before the start of Pac-12 play.
Morris got the scoring started in the 31st minute off of an Aaron Kovar free kick, heading in the first of his two goals off the cross looking toward the near post.
“It was lovely for Jordan to get off the mark tonight and get on the score sheet,” Gunn said. “The goal should be looking pretty large for him in the future.”
Santa Barbara responded in the 53rd minute with a goal from senior defender Peter Schmetz. His goal was the only stain on an otherwise perfect day from goalkeeper Drew Hutchins, who recorded five saves on the night. Later, five minutes into overtime, Morris one-timed a ball that was bouncing around outside of the box into the back of the net for the golden goal that ended the game.
Overall, Stanford showed true resilience in maintaining its poise even after surrendering a tying goal in the second half. That resilience would pay off when Morris scored the overtime winner.
“It was an electrifying atmosphere, and every time they got to go forward the crowd was deafening,” Gunn told GoStanford.com. “But it was just an incredible performance by our team. Maybe you can’t claim it to be our best performance, but you could claim it to be our gutsiest performance. It is something that I’m very proud of. It would have been easy to fold [when Santa Barbara tied it up in the second half] — they had the momentum. But we were gutsy, determined, and we kept ourselves in the hunt, and I’m very proud of our guys.”
Morris not only captured his first two career collegiate goals but also joined Zach Batteer and JJ Koval as the three players to score twice in a game for the Cardinal so far this season. Morris has consistently been a starter for Gunn’s squad and has made an impact nearly every game, and the freshman finally put his name on the score sheet in this one.
Stanford improved to 5-1-1 on the season, winning its fifth straight game at an all-important time. The Cardinal begins Pac-12 conference play Thursday when No. 5 Washington comes into town at 6-0-2. Washington will be the start of a brutal stretch that sees the Cardinal play Oregon State at home before traveling to face No. 13 UCLA, San Diego State and No. 2 Cal.
Stanford takes on Washington at 7 p.m. at Cagan Stadium Thursday night.
Contact Michael Peterson at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.