By Ells Boone
After securing the Pac-12 crown, the Stanford men’s soccer team (9-2-1, 7-2-1 Pac-12) will look to get back to the College Cup, where the Cardinal fell in the semifinals to Georgetown in 2019 — the last edition of the NCAA Tournament. First up is a second-round matchup against Omaha (7-2-1, 5-2-1 Summit) in Greensboro, N.C.
The Omaha Mavericks defeated UNC Greensboro 3-2 on Thursday in the first round in what was the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win.
This will be Stanford’s third meeting with Omaha in program history, with the last being a 4-0 win for the Cardinal at Cagan Stadium in 2016. The tournament’s No. 4 overall seed, Stanford is led by leading goalscorer — and Pac-12 Player of the Year — Zach Ryan. The redshirt junior forward has registered 10 goals and three assists thus far for the Cardinal. He spearheads the attack, supported by sophomore forward Gabe Segal and junior midfielder Will Richmond. Richmond was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team this past week while Segal earned Second Team honors.
All in all, Stanford’s attack has scored 29 goals this season with a few of those tallies coming from senior forward Charlie Wehan. The defense has also been strong this spring, only allowing eight goals to date. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Thomas earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors for his efforts this season. Sophomore defender Keegan Hughes has also been an anchor at the back along with redshirt junior defender Andrew Aprahamian and sophomore defender Keegan Tingey.
On the other side of the pitch, Omaha is led by junior forward Hugo Kametani, senior midfielder Nil Ayats and junior midfielder Ed Port. Kametani has nine goals on the season while Ayats and Port both have four assists to their names. In goal, redshirt senior keeper Jeremy Pollard has made 31 saves this season.
In their first round matchup, the Mavericks jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Kametani and Ayats. UNC Greensboro then responded with two goals of its own before Kametani finished off the match with a header just three minutes before the final whistle.
Kick-off is set for 2 p.m. PT Sunday and will be streamed on ESPN3. The winner will face the victor of the match between North Carolina and Charlotte.