Without a win in their last two games, No. 9 Stanford (7-1-4, 1-1-3 Pac-12) showed its spirit and toughness against a resilient St Mary’s (5-6-2, 0-1-1 WCC) defense. After a deadlocked first 70 minutes, the Cardinal broke through with two goals in under a minute, securing a hard-fought away win in Moraga, Calif.
The first half started off well for Stanford, controlling the tempo of the game early and drawing four saves in the first 20 minutes. The rest of the half was much more evenly matched, with the Gaels stringing together a few attacking possessions of their own, but neither side was able to create any real chances of note. The Cardinal ended the half with seven shots to St Mary’s three, forcing Gaels keeper Jack Landreth into five saves to keep his team in the contest.
The second half began in a similar fashion, with neither side able to crack the stalemate. The match seemed to be heading towards another unfortunate draw for Stanford until the 71st minute, when a handball from St. Mary’s Valentin Kurz gifted the Cardinal a penalty, taken coolly by captain and senior midfielder Cam Cilley to put his team in the lead. And Just 30 seconds after the restart, Redshirt junior midfielder Mark Fisher headed in a free kick delivered by sophomore midfielder Will Reilly to seal the game at 2-0.
“It was a great game,” Fisher said. “Cam and I got another brace as a duo, second half goals — one PK and one set piece, so those are key moments in the game.”
With 19 total fouls and three yellow cards for each team, the game wasn’t exactly pretty, but Stanford deservedly came away with a win after edging the Gaels in shots (12 to four, nine to two on goal) and corners (eight to three). In a physical match where neither side could muster up too much offense, Stanford was able to capitalize on chances late in the second half to secure all three points, setting them up nicely for their next match.
Up next, the Cardinal play at San Diego State (4-6-2, 1-3-1 Pac-12) on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. PT, with UCLA (7-4-1, 2-2-1 Pac-12) on the horizon.