Sam Werner scored midway through the second half to spark a three-goal spree in less than 15 minutes and the 16th-ranked Stanford men's soccer team beat visiting No. 17 UCLA, 3-0, in a Pac-12 Conference contest Sunday.
Stanford (8-2-3, 5-0-0 Pac-12) is 5-0 in conference play and six points clear of Washington (9-4-0, 3-2-0 Pac-12) and UCLA (7-4-1, 3-2-0 Pac-12) halfway through the league schedule. It's the second time in program history the Cardinal has put together a five-match conference winning streak in a season. The 2000 squad also did so in the first year of Pac-12 men's soccer.
The win was Stanford's largest margin over UCLA and the Cardinal's biggest in conference since beating No. 16 Oregon State by the same score last Oct. 11. After going 6-39-6 against the Bruins from 1973-2013, Stanford is 2-0-3 in its last five with UCLA.
"It was a tremendous weekend," said Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn of the Cardinal, which beat No. 25 San Diego State on Thursday. "We can be very excited about how the first five have gone, but there are miles to go. There's no room for complacency because every single one of these games can have different outcomes. If we keep showing up with the right mentality and the right work rate then the class of how we're playing right now can hopefully shine through."
Stanford's class shined on Sunday. The Cardinal outshot UCLA 20-11, put 11 on frame and forced Bruin freshman Kevin Silva into a season-high eight saves.
Werner started the barrage in the 66th minute when Corey Baird cut a ball back to the top of the box and Werner put it away to the far post. Werner's third career goal and first of the season came minutes after Baird rattled the post with a shot from 20-yards out and seconds after a Foster Langsdorf header nicked the same bar.
Stanford began tacking on its insurance goals in the 76th when Werner took one of his team's six corners on the night. UCLA was able to clear the service, but not far enough. Tanner Beason chested it down at the top of the 18, collected and launched a laser to the left corner with his right foot for the Cardinal's second tally.
Adam Mosharrafa joined in the offense in the 80th minute when he curled his free kick perfectly around the wall to the upper corner and put the game out of reach.
"From back to front it was an amazing performance," Gunn added. "UCLA is a tremendous team, but on the night we thoroughly deserved it. Everybody brought their 'A' game. We were rock solid defensively. At the end of the day you really have to look at how many chances we had and how many saves their keeper had to make, which pretty much showed that on the night we definitely deserved the victory."
Stanford moved to 18-2-5 (.820) in Pac-12 play since 2014 and 9-1-3 (.808) in its last 13 games against ranked opponents. The Cardinal also extended its unbeaten streak at home to 20. Stanford is 25-1-8 in its last 34 on The Farm.
Andrew Epstein made three saves and collected the 19th clean sheet of his career to move into third all-time at Stanford. Corey Baird assisted on three of the Cardinal's six goals in its wins over San Diego State and UCLA and now has 20 in 55 career matches, ninth in program history.
After starting the year 0-1-3, Stanford has gone 8-1-0 in its last nine games and outscored its opponents, 21-5, including 9-1 in conference.
"I think we were a little bit unfortunate with some of the results at the beginning of the season because I felt we did enough in some of the games to win," Gunn said. "The biggest thing we've worked on is going and getting the result. That means having that cutting edge and that drive to score goals. That's what's been really, really special over the last month. We're firing on all cylinders at the moment."
A hard-fought game that came down to the wire went the way of Pacific on Sunday as the 15th-ranked Cardinal fell, 1-0, to end its six game winning streak. The game marks the first time this season that the Cardinal has been shut out.
The first half saw the Tigers (11-4, 2-1 America East) come out hard, putting up eight shots to Stanford's (7-5, 3-1) four. The Cardinal defense was still impeccable as Kelsey Bing only needed to make one save, as did Pacific's Laura Pujade to send it into the break tied 0-0.
The second half saw Stanford fire back as the Cardinal outshot Pacific, 7-4, in the half while putting Pujade to work making four saves.
While Kelsey Bing made two saves of her own in the half, the Tigers were finally able to strike in the 57th minute with Katharine Egan and Hayley Kifoil setting up Savannah Burns for her 13th goal of the year as a low corner shot to the left side found its way into the goal for the game-winner.
The Cardinal returns home this week as it sets to close out its home schedule hosting UC Davis on Friday night at 6 p.m. and Cal on Sunday at noon at Varsity Turf.