Car­di­nal stum­ble in quar­ter­fi­nals

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Tom FitzGer­ald

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).

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