Sports

Special delivery stamps Cardinal as Pac-12 winners

 

Brandon Vincent wasn't going to let the 18th-ranked Stanford men's soccer team go into overtime in Thursday night's Pac-12 opener at Oregon State.

Vincent delivered the game winner with less than two minutes to play, giving the Cardinal a 1-0 victory.


Andrew Epstein
He gathered a loose ball at the top of the box and fired it past OSU's Matt Bersano into the right portion of the net in the 89th minute. It was Vincent's third goal of the season after entering 2014 with just one score in his first 38 career matches.

"We mounted an attack and managed to get the ball free to Brandon, who had a tremendous shot on goal," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "It was blocked and came back out to him. The first attempt was a great strike with his left foot and on the second he just absolutely smashed the rebound with his right."

The win, Stanford's seventh in a row, moves its record to 7-1 on the season. Coupled with No. 13 Cal's 3-2 loss at No. 5 Washington in Seattle, the Cardinal now owns the nation's longest active string of consecutive victories.

Its last seven-game win streak came at the start of the 2002 season, when the Cardinal began 11-1 and ended as the NCAA national runner-up.

Stanford won its conference opener for the first time since beating the Beavers in 2007, and won its first conference game on the road since beating Washington in 2006.

"It's really important to get off to a good start," Gunn said. "Every time you can get three points in the Pac-12 is a huge result and it's even tougher to get three on the road. We settled into the game very well, were excellent with passing and dominant with possession. It was just tough to carve out chances in the final third against a very stubborn Oregon State defense."

Andrew Epstein notched his second solo shutout, making a career-high five saves. The sophomore's biggest stop came on his fifth and final one of the evening, when Oregon State's Timmy Mueller broke free with a great chance on goal in the 80th minute. But Epstein was up to the task.

"It was a tough battle for our defenders against some very lively forwards," Gunn said. "They did break through with a great chance on goal late in the game. He had a clear look at Andrew and he managed to repel the shot with a tremendous 1-on-1 save. That was a game changer."

The Cardinal will look to win its eighth straight for the first time since 2001 when it heads north on I-5 for a date with the Huskies on Sunday at 5 p.m. That match will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks.

Men's golf

Maverick McNealy was named the Pac-12 Conference Men's Golfer of the Month for September, as announced Thursday by the Pac-12.

The sophomore from Portola Valley led the Cardinal with a pair of medalist honors at the Southwestern Intercollegiate (Sept. 8-9) and the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational (Sept. 12-14).

McNealy posted a 10-under 203 (66-72-65) for his first career win to lead Stanford to its first win of the season at the Southwestern Intercollegiate.

He followed up with another win, firing a consistent 3-over 213 (71-71-71) in leading the Cardinal to a fourth-place team finish at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational.

A Cardinal has now earned medalist honors at the Fighting Illini Invitational four consecutive years (McNealy 2014, Cameron Wilson 2013, Patrick Rodgers 2012 and 2011).

McNealy became the ninth straight Cardinal medalist in as many events dating back to last season.

Stanford, currently ranked No. 10 by Golfweek, returns to action Oct. 6-7 at the Swoosh Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.

Women's tennis

Stanford is well-represented in both the main singles and doubles draw of the ITA Riviera All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades.

Caroline Doyle, who won three qualifying matches just to reach the main draw, and Carol Zhao both cruised to straight-set victories to reach Friday's round of 16.

The Cardinal also has two doubles teams remaining, with Taylor Davidson and Zhao working overtime for a win while Doyle and Ellen Tsay won in straight sets.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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