By Cybele Zhang
No. 4 Stanford has something to prove after losing in last year’s NCAA semifinals — and they began this season with vengeance at the Pacific Invite.
The Cardinal (2-0, 0-0 MPSF) began the day against No. 12 San Jose State (0-2, 0-1 WCC) at 1 p.m. PT, before facing the home team, No. 7 Pacific (1-1, 1-0 WCC), at 4 p.m. PT. Stanford dominated the first game, winning 16-7. Although the Tigers proved to be a harder opponent in game two, the Cardinal were victorious again, winning in overtime, 15-12.
Sophomore Nolan Krutonog spent all 32 minutes of both games in goal for Stanford, impressively filling the gap left by Andrew Chun ’20, last season’s MPSF Tournament MVP.
Pacific narrowly won its match up with SJSU in overtime, 12-11.
Junior 2M Beck Jurasius kicked off the Cardinal’s scoring and pieced together four goals on four shots in the first game of the year. Graduate student driver Tyler Abramson, redshirt sophomore driver Walker Seymour and senior driver Quinn Woodhead scored three each against the Spartans, adding to Stanford’s commanding win.
As a team, Stanford shot 45.7% against San Jose State, and was four-for-four on penalty shots. Meanwhile, guarding the Cardinal’s goal, Krutonog saved an impressive 56.3% of shots.
Just a few hours later, Stanford took the pool again. The narrow gap between games tested the Cardinal’s depth, experience and endurance early.
Unexpectedly, the match-up against Pacific was much closer. Stanford’s shooting percentage dipped slightly to 0.357, which was topped by the Tigers’ 0.387.
The game was neck-and-neck throughout regulation, and it initially looked as though the win would evade the Cardinal. But with two minutes left and down 11-9, Stanford made a comeback and equalized with a goal from Woodhead at 1:33 remaining, and another just 25 seconds later from redshirt senior 2MD Parker Killion.
The same close competiton continued into overtime, but Jurasius’s goal with 1:11 left in the fifth period pushed the Cardinal ahead to a 13-12 lead. Stanford kept the momentum, taking on two more to ultimately outlast Pacific.
Jurasius ended the night with a total eight goals on nine attempts across both games.
The Walnut Creek–native and the Cardinal will take the pool again on Wednesday, Sept. 8, against Santa Clara in Avery Aquatics Center. The home opener will begin at 6:00 p.m. PT.