College Soccer / Local

Stanford Cardinal beat undefeated Indiana, win third straight championship

Photo by Rob Simmons

Stanford Cardinal became the second team in NCAA history to win three consecutive College Cup championships Sunday afternoon, beating the only undefeated team in the nation in sudden death overtime.

Defense defined this year’s final. This should come as no surprise. Indiana Hoosiers entered the match with an NCAA-low six goals against. On the other side, Stanford’s own defensive numbers on the season fall just short of Indiana’s dominance, with a meager nine goals allowed. The Hoosiers’ stingy defense was able to hold off the seasoned Stanford attack for 103 mintues, but ultimately they were unable to create on offense.

Both teams set the defensive tone early, as neither team was able to net a goal in the first half, nor were they able to pose any true threats.

Indiana junior right back Rece Buckmaster gave Stanford its first scare, slicing through the middle of Stanford’s midfield outside the box, but he was shortly disrupted and the ball dispersed.

The first real threat of the match began in the 10th minute when Stanford sophomore midfielder Jared Gilbey delivered a cutting ball through Indiana’s back line. Senior midfielder Bryce Marion ran onto the through ball and ripped a shot, but freshman keeper Trey Muse made his first save of the match to keep it out.

Stanford created a few weak chances as the half went on but weren’t able to capitalize. Redshirt junior midfielder Sam Werner intercepted a bad clear at the corner of the box, but had his ensuing shot blocked. Senior forward Corey Baird tried to shoot it in from far out in the 19th minute, but it went wide.

It wasn’t until the 35th minute that Stanford had another threat. Stanford leading goal scorer Foster Langdorf curved a shot on the ground to the back post, Muse was there again.

Indiana senior centerback and MAC Hermann trophy finalist Grant Lillard did make several key blocks and interceptions in the middle, especially during a couple back-to-back threatening corners from Stanford in the 37th minute.

The Hoosiers’ offensive pursuits were even less fruitful than Stanford’s, with only one shot from Redshirt junior midfielder Francesco Moore, and no shots on goal for the entire side.

Though the scoreboard remained unchanged after the second half, the match was certainly more active. The teams player more aggressively, and the opportunities were more. And, after an unseen foul in which a Stanford player brought down one of the Hoosiers, the crowd’s intensity dialed up.

Stanford’s Baird had several opportunities throughout the half, the first being a header off a solid Sam Werner cross in the 61st, but the header went wide. The second came off another great delivery, this time from Langsdorf in the 65th minute, but again it failed. Muse made his frame large and got in front of it.

Perhaps Indiana’s best chance came in the 69th minute. After junior left back Andrew Gutman gathered an errant Indiana shot at the end line and crossed it in, freshman midfielder Griffin Dorsey headed it towards goal, but Stanford keeper Nico Corti managed to snatch it, getting in front of an oncoming Indiana froward.

The game’s only yellow card came in the 89th minute to Lancaster, Pa. native, Stanford’s senior midfielder, Drew Skundrich, for tripping Indiana’s Mason Toye. The foul set Indiana up about 40 yards from goal, but the ensuing ball in couldn’t reach a Hoosier. The opportunity was gone.

After an out-of-bounds on Stanford, Indiana held on to the ball as the last ten seconds counted down over Talen Energy’s loud speaker. The game would go to two sudden-death overtime periods.

The first overtime period remained uneventful, with few chances created. As the last minutes of the period wound down, Stanford resorted to shooting from well outside the box, but their efforts were either off-target or too easy for Muse. The second and soon-to-be game-ending overtime period was next.

Three minutes into the final period, the game ended, and a 2017 champion was declared. After scoring in the semifinal against Akron, Stanford’s Sam Werner netted one again. Indiana’s Griffin Dorsey bobbled the ball in the box after a missed Stanford cross. Werner collected it, lined it up, and rocketed a shot to the top bar. 6’4″ Trey Muse got as close as he could, but the ball knocked in despite his best efforts.

With the sudden death goal, number 9 seeded Stanford dealt the number 2 seeded Hoosiers their only loss of the year and became national champions for the third consecutive year.

Indiana finishes the year with seven goals allowed and tied for a school-record 18 shutouts.

Stanford, previously absent from the conversation of college soccer power houses, has cemented itself among the greats. Head coach Jeremy Gunn became only the second head coach in NCAA history to record three consecutive championships. The other coach? Bruce Arena for the University of Virginia.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Ugh! another anti-soccer game. I was hoping NC would get onto the final, because they were trying to play the game as it should be played. But alas,it was not to be. I did see the last 10 min against my better judgement and got to see 22 F-150 pickup truck type players slogging around, booting long balls, hitting ping-pong headers back and forth. No Ferraris on this field ,for sure. Just so sad to see this junk in the year of 2017.

  2. Yeah, just talking about soccer, not life. They better not get those kinds of grades in the classroom.

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