Sports


Stanford men beat Deacons; advance to NCAA College Cup

 

A beautifully executed free kick and header put the No. 6 Stanford men's soccer team in the College Cup for the first time in 13 years.

The Cardinal needed an extra few minutes and a second chance to knock off host and top-ranked Wake Forest, 2-1, in Winston-Salem on Saturday night.

Foster Langsdorf buried a header in the 97th minute off the kick from Corey Baird, who recorded assists on both goals.

Ty Thompson was taken down in the center of the field 35 yards out midway through overtime.

Baird lifted one to the top of the 18 and onto the head of Langsdorf.

With his back to the face of goal, Langsdorf's flick looped up and over Alec Ferrell for the winner.

MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalists Brandon Vincent and Jordan Morris connected, with Baird getting the ball to Vincent, in the 18th to give the Cardinal a 1-0 lead.

Vincent pushed forward from his left back position and played a beautiful ball in to the U.S. Men's National Team striker, who rose above the defense to head it home. Morris has three goals in his past two games and 11 for the season.

Ian Harkes converted a penalty kick in the 70th minute to tie the match and force overtime.

"In the second half, Wake Forest had good possession and managed to break through our midfield more than we wanted them to," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "They get back in it on a penalty and with a great crowd behind them the atmosphere was electric. Once again this group showed how mentally strong they are."

Stanford was awarded a penalty kick in the 94th minute, but Vincent's try hit the crossbar.

Vincent didn't miss Morris on his next chance, sending Stanford to the Final Four in Kansas City, where it will play No.4 seed Akron (18-3-2), which also needed overtime to beat Creighton, 3-2, on Friday.

"The mentality of this team all season long has been 'next play,'" Gunn said. "When you come on the road against a very tough opponent, you want to take your chances. When you miss, momentum can swing to the home team. But yet again our team showed its amazing mentality and incredible courage. We kept pressing and were rewarded with another great opportunity."

No. 6 seed Syracuse meets No. 2 seed Clemson in the other semifinal.

Najem Akr scored in the 102nd minute for the third-ranked Zips, who won the national title in 2010.

Stanford lost to Akron, 2-0, in the Sweet Sixteen in 2009. The Zips were the national runner-up that season, as Virginia was awarded the title on penalty kicks.

"When the season is all done and dusted, that's when you reflect," Gunn said. "Right now we're still going and have another exciting game to play. That's all we're thinking about right now."

Wake Forest out-shot the Cardinal, 14-12, but Stanford had eight shots on goal to the Deacons' six. Cardinal goalkeeper Andrew Epstein made four saves and there was a field save.

Baird (11) and senior Eric Verso (12) have combined for 23 of Stanford's 44 assists this season. The Cardinal is the only team in the country with two players in double figures.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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