Cardinal stumble in quarterfinals
It was Black Friday for Stanford soccer.
The national title hopes of both the women’s and men’s teams were dashed within less than an hour.
In the men’s case, the three-time defending national champions rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to tie the score, only to surrender a goal in the 81st minute and lose to Akron 3-2 in the NCAA quarterfinals at Cagan Stadium.
“We’ve had an incredible run,” head coach Jeremy Gunn said. “I’m so proud of all the ambassaty of the game that we’ve had go through the program.”
Canadian forward Marcel Zajac scored the first two goals in artful fashion and assisted on Colin Biros’ winner.
Early in the second half, the news arrived that Florida State had defeated Stanford’s top-seeded women 2-0 in College Cup semifinals in Cary, N.C.
So two defending national champs from the same school went down the same night.
“We’re not checking off that goal, not having a chance to chase that trophy anymore,” defender
Tanner Beason said. “Nobody in the (locker) room is happy about it.”
Akron (13-6-2) lost to Stanford in the national semifinals last year. The Zips, ranked No. 2 early in the season, started with a 1-3-1 record and hadn’t been ranked since.
“Akron is a fantastic soccer team, and they deserve to be going to the Final Four,” Gunn said. “I thought our boys fought incredibly. When we got to 2-2 we looked good. Absolutely credit to (the Zips). When they were rocking, they managed to settle the game down again. The (winning) goal they scored was fantastic.”
Marco Micaletto sent a pass to Zajac near the back post. Zajac headed a pass to Biros, who headed the ball into the net.
Beason, on a penalty kick, and freshman Zach Ryan scored for Stanford (12-4-5).