Generally, if you score a goal and an assist, you’re having a great game. If that goal happens to be the winning penalty kick, then you’re having a fantastic game. If you’re a goalie, and you save a penalty kick, you’re having a stunning game. If you happen to be Stanford’s senior goalkeeper Drew Hutchins and have done all three of these things, you’re having a once-in-a-lifetime performance.
Drew Hutchins didn’t want to go home to Morrisville, Pa., just yet. In order to prolong his — and Stanford’s — tournament life, all he needed was one of the finest individual displays this year.
For a long time, it appeared that this game would be a fitting end to Stanford’s season. Having dominated from the outset and establishing a 16-5 lead in shots, Stanford (9-6-3) outplayed the Loyola Marymount Lions (13-4-2) from start to finish, yet had no goal to reward it for its troubles. Just as in many of the games this season, the Card was punished for its inability to finish in front of the goal, with LMU taking what seemed to be an insurmountable lead in the 83rd minute. LMU midfielder John McFarlin, already possessing 10 assists for the season, added another to his tally when he squared the ball for forward Adrien Perez, who unleashed a 20-yard shot into the top-right corner of the goal. There was nothing Hutchins could do. Not yet.
Among the Stanford chances it would have rued were senior Bobby Edwards’ volley, pushed away by LMU’s sophomore goalie Paul Blechette, and sophomore midfielder Ty Thompson’s header, also saved by Blechette. Senior midfielder and captain JJ Koval missed two headers just wide of the post, while freshman forward Jordan Morris blazed a volley just over the bar. None of that would matter anymore, it seemed, as Stanford appeared to have succumbed once again to a worrying trend of allowing a late goal to doom its chances.
The Card fought on, and in that fight came a moment that could only be described as magical: 90th minute, 20 seconds left in regulation. Junior wingback Jimmy Callinan sent in one last hopeful cross and Hutchins swooped in, in a penalty box that seemed so foreign to him, and got a headed flick-on. The ball fell to junior forward Zach Batteer’s feet, and he lashed a left-footed volley into the bottom corner. At first he was shocked, and then an expression of pure joy creased his face. 1-1. Pandemonium.
Obviously, the game was not over. Both sides had their chances in extra time, with a Perez shot being deflected just past the post and junior Connor Hunsicker’s volley saved by Hutchins. For Stanford, Batteer had another volley pushed away, while Koval flashed wide a volley that seemed destined for the bottom corner. Unfortunately for the blood pressures of the crowd in attendance at Cagan Stadium, the deadlock could not be broken so the game went to penalties.
To say penalties started badly for Stanford would be an understatement. Both Koval and sophomore winger Aaron Kovar saw their penalties saved by Blechette, meaning LMU took a 1-0 lead after two rounds of penalties, thanks to junior defender Craig Nitti slotting his penalty past Hutchins.
Stanford, however, would not give in. Sophomore centerback Brandon Vincent and Morris converted the next two penalties, while LMU’s Perez saw his cannon bounce back off the post.
That made it 2-2 after four rounds. Up stepped Hutchins. Of course, he slotted his penalty into the bottom left corner: 3-2. Then, he turned around and saved Hunsicker’s penalty, diving low to his left to give Stanford a 3-2 victory on penalties.
There was pandemonium again, and in the center of it all was an amazed Drew Hutchins, trying desperately to savor this moment. Stanford lived to fight another day.
The Cardinal will travel to 15th-seeded Cal State Northridge (15-6-1) on Sunday and hopes to continue its charmed tournament life.
Contact Dylan Fugel at dfugel ‘at’ stanford.edu.