The No. 4 Stanford men’s soccer team (13-2-2, 6-1-2 Pac-12) went from extreme highs to extreme lows this past weekend: While the team first clinched a share of the Pac-12 title with a 2-0 victory at Oregon State (7-7-1, 2-4-1) on Friday night, Monday dealt the Cardinal a very different hand when the team lost a tightly contested 2-1 game against the University of Washington, snapping the team’s 15-game unbeaten streak.
Monday’s game kept alive Washington’s hopes to share the Pac-12 title with Stanford, which has already clinched at least a co-championship. For this to happen, Washington would have to win its final three matches at San Diego State, UCLA and Oregon State, while the Cardinal would have to lose once again to California in their season-ending match up.
Stanford showed its grit in a tough away game against Oregon this past Friday. Playing in deteriorating conditions in Corvallis, the Beavers proved difficult to break down, stopping wave after wave of Stanford attack, which notched 10 total shots, for most of the game. The slick pitch made it hard for players to control balls, with many wayward passes contributing to the choppy play.
Stanford struck first in the 81st minute when senior midfielder Slater Meehan converted a cheeky cross from sophomore Foster Langsdorf to break the deadlock. Less than five minutes later, forward Jordan Morris scored his now requisite “per game goal of the match,” as he has scored seven goals in his past eight games with his college team. Those two goals were enough to earn the Cardinal a victory and a share of the Pac-12 title.
Monday night was a very different atmosphere for the Stanford men’s soccer team. In chilly 48-degree weather typical of a Seattle winter, the Cardinal were knocked off by the Huskies 2-1. The loss marked the team’s first lost since Aug. 28, ending the Cardinal’s historic run.
The Cardinal offense struck early, with sophomore midfielder Sam Werner scoring his first collegiate goal in the 15th minute. His laser beam shot came from the top right corner of the box after a missed opportunity on a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Corey Baird. That lit the spark for Stanford as it tried to continue to dominate possession of the ball.
But it was Washington that quickly responded in the first half, getting on the board after a successful penalty kick from Huskies junior midfielder Steven Wright, who also notched his first goal of the season. Washington forward Beau Blanchard drew the foul, capitalizing on a Stanford defense that was backpedaling as he streaked down the field. The one-on-one with Stanford keeper junior Andrew Epstein from a few yards out was an easy conversion for the Huskies to level the score before halftime.
The Cardinal defense was on its heels and struggled the whole night, allowing Washington to grab its first lead of the night in the 64th minute after a goal from forward Kyle Coffee, the second Huskies player to score his first goal on the year. That would be enough to keep Washington atop the Cardinal for the remainder of the game.
Stanford junior forward Jordan Morris returned to his home state of Washington to attempt to deliver some strikes, as he had 3 shots on goal throughout the game. A late second-half streak by Morris with only one man to beat would have delivered a tying goal for Stanford, but Morris was not able to find the back of the net, his back-post attempt going wide.
Playing without senior co-captain Ty Thompson, considered one of the anchors of the team, to manage the midfield may have hurt Stanford as it tried to pressure the ball and create chances on offense.
Stanford will return home next Thursday to face off against its across-the-bay rival California and to finish off the regular season and conference play. The Cardinal will vie for their second Pac-12 title when taking on the Golden Bears at 6 p.m. in Cagan Stadium for the team’s Senior Night. The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Michael Spelfogel at mspelf ‘at’ stanford.edu and Taylor Duarte at taylor3 ‘at’ stanford.edu.