No. 3 Stanford's furious comeback in the fourth period of Saturday's MPSF Championship semifinal against No. 1 USC fell just short, leaving the Cardinal with the short end of an 11-10 decision at the McDonald's Swim Stadium.
The Cardinal (16-6), which is the only team this season to score 10 goals against unbeaten USC (26-0), will play in Sunday's third-place game against the winner of Saturday afternoon's second semifinal between UCLA and California. The third-place game is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday and will be webcast at Pac-12
Trailing by three going into the final period Saturday, Stanford scored five times and thrice fought its way back to within a goal of the Trojans in the final frame, but could not overcome USC. Four USC goals to just one for the Cardinal in the third frame turned a 4-4 halftime score into 8-5 heading into the final eight minutes.
Freshman BJ Churnside scored two of his four goals late in the frame to pull the Cardinal to within 9-8 with 2:35 to play, but USC's Nikola Vavic responded with a goal to get the Trojan lead back to two with just over two minutes to go. Stanford would earn a 6-on-5 the next time down the pool, and Alex Bowen would power home one of his four goals on the day, again halving the Trojan lead this time at 10-9 with 1:40 to play.
The Trojans would respond once more, however, on the arm of Mace Rapsey with 1:18 to go, reassuming its two-goal advantage. Stanford managed a late power-play goal to get within one for the third time, but USC would manage to run out the clock to preserve its win.
Stanford, after trailing 2-1 following the opening period, raced out for three goals against just two for the Trojans in the second to make it a 4-4 game at the break.
Along with the four goals apiece from Bowen and Churnside, the Cardinal got two goals from Bret Bonanni. Goalie Scott Platshon made 11 saves on the defensive end.
The Stanford wrestling team topped South Dakota State, 22-11, before falling to No. 7 Missouri, 31-3, Saturday, at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo. The Cardinal is now 4-3 overall this season. The Jackrabbits drop to 2-4, while the Tigers are now 4-0.
The Cardinal won seven of the 10 bouts against South Dakota State, but came up victorious just once against the Tigers. Against Missouri, junior Kyle Meyer upset 18th-ranked Kyle Bradley, 3-2, at 157 pounds for the lone victory for Stanford. Junior heavyweight Dan Scherer nearly pulled off an upset of No. 2 Dom Bradley, falling 2-1 in the tiebreaker, while junior 165-pounder Bret Baumbach was edged 4-3 by No. 13 Zach Toal.
Earlier in the afternoon against South Dakota State, redshirt freshman Evan Silver posted a 4-3 decision over Aaron Pickrel at 125 pounds to give Stanford an early lead. However, the Jackrabbits won the next two bouts to take the lead momentarily. Senior 149-pounder Timmy Boone tied it up at 6-6 with a 12-10 decision over Dustin Walraven.
SDSU would secure one final victory before Stanford reeled off five straight wins, starting with a 15-1 major decision by Baumbach against Joe Brewster at 165 pounds. True freshmen Thomas Kimbrell edged John Nething II, 3-2, at 174 pounds, while rookie Ryan Davies recorded an 8-1 decision over Shea Nolan at 184 pounds.
Leading 16-11, redshirt freshman Michael Sojka blanked Brandon Ballard, 5-0, at 197 pounds. Scherer wrapped things up with a 9-4 decision over J.J. Everard.
Up next, Stanford takes a two week break from competition before returning to the mat in Reno, Nev. The Reno Tournament of Champions is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 16.