Batteer nets the equalizer as Stanford ties UCLA 1-1 in 2OT

Oct. 12, 2014, 10:50 p.m.

The No. 15 Stanford men’s soccer team played host to the No. 2 UCLA Bruins Sunday night on the Farm. Laird Q. Cagan Stadium has been a proverbial fortress for the Card so far this year, as they had yet to drop points on their home turf. The Bruins, meanwhile, were looking to rebound from their shock extra time defeat at Cal on Friday. A close match saw the game into overtime, where neither team could break the deadlock. The match finished 1-1.

Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn was once again without the services of striker Jordan Morris, so freshman Foster Langsdorf found himself in the starting eleven come kickoff. Otherwise, the home side fielded a full-strength lineup in a traditional 4-4-2.

The match began conservatively, with the ball staying largely in the middle third. It was not until the 14th minute that the first real chance was created, as Stanford freshman Corey Baird found enough space to curl a right-footed shot that forced Bruins keeper Earl Edwards, Jr. to push the ball over the bar. Baird again found himself in possession two minutes later, and embarked on a mazy run down the left that resulted in a tame effort straight at Edwards, Jr.

Senior forward Zach Batteer (above)
Senior forward Zach Batteer (above) was particularly active versus UCLA on Sunday evening, pulling the Cardinal even with the Bruins on a 58th-minute strike. (SEAN CHRISTOFFERSON/The Stanford Daily)

On the whole, the first half belonged largely to Stanford, as the Bruins only registered one shot. The away side was lucky to go to the locker room with a clean sheet, as a Langsdorf toe poke from a Zach Batteer pass struck the side netting, while defender Brian Nana-Sinkham’s headed effort forced Edwards, Jr. into action yet again. Skipper Brandon Vincent also came close, steering a rising half volley wide on the stroke of halftime.

UCLA came out the second half seemingly awoken from its first-half slumber, and immediately had the Stanford defense on the back foot. In the 49th minute, Bruins midfielder Brian Iloski curled a cross in from the left side to the boot of Aaron Simmons, who stuffed the ball back across goal with a confident first-time shot.

Jeremy Gunn’s side was up to the task, however, and equalized on 58 minutes. Baird again found himself on the ball, and had the quality to dribble right at the heart of the defense. Showing his Bruins counterparts a clean pair of heels, the Vista Grande High School product laid the ball off for Zach Batteer, who crisply slotted the ball home to the far post.

The Cardinal had a legitimate penalty shot on 64 minutes, as the ball appeared to come in contact with the arm of a sliding UCLA defender. The referee’s assistant had a clear view, and waved off appeals from a host of Stanford players.

UCLA found itself on the offensive soon after, as striker Iloski was able to turn his defender and play the ball square to an unmarked Larry Ndjock. Since keeper Andrew Epstein had already committed to the threat of Iloski, the goal was left gaping open for the striker, who fluffed his lines and shot high from 10 yards out. It was an absolute sitter, and drew a collective groan from the travelling support.

As regulation time began to wind down, Stanford looked the side more likely to escape with the winner. The 87th minute saw a bouncing ball sit up nicely for Ty Thompson, who shot wide.

Stanford keeper Andrew Epstein drew the most plaudits in the first period of extra time, scurrying back to his line to catch a half shot, half cross from UCLA left back Jordan Vale. Epstein again came to his side’s rescue in the 97th minute, pouncing on a Seyi Adekoya half-turn effort that nearly snuck in the near post.

The second period of extra time was all Bruins, as the UCLA attack produced a cross to an unmarked Gage Zerboni, who should have done better as his headed effort went straight into the hands of Epstein.

Both sides registered half chances in the dying minutes, but in the end neither team was able to strike the killer blow.

Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn was pleased with his team’s performance, and hinted that he thinks his side may have deserved the three points.

“If it was a boxing match, I think we were ahead on rounds at the end of the game,” Gunn said.

The Stanford head coach was unwilling to put too much stock in the result, however, saying, “It is just another step along the way.”

“We showed incredible drive and resilience,” Gunn continued.

When asked what may have been lacking from his team in the match, Gunn said he would have liked “a little more movement behind the back line.” While Stanford was able to outpossess the Bruins on the night, they lacked the precise penetration necessary to create goals.

Stanford’s result tonight puts it on seven points in the Pac-12, which keeps it as a joint table-toppers with No. 1 Washington, who drew 1-1 with Oregon State Sunday afternoon.

The Stanford men will return to action Monday week, as they host Cal in the first Big Derby fixture of the season.

Contact Will Drinkwater at willydri ‘at’

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