Sports

Stanford men make NCAA soccer history with three-peat

 
Stanford won its third straight men's soccer title, matching Virginia as the only teams to three-peat. Photo by Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com.

Stanford won its third consecutive NCAA men's soccer championship when Sam Werner scored in the second overtime to give the Cardinal a 1-0 victory over Indiana at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday.

On a sequence that began with a throw-in deep in Indiana territory, Werner stripped an Indiana player with one touch and stabbed a right-footed shot under the crossbar on his next, at 102:03, to give Stanford the first three-year championship run since Bruce Arena-coached Virginia won four straight from 1991-94.


Sam Werner/Stanford Athletics
The victory gives Stanford an unprecedented 115th NCAA team title, moving ahead of UCLA. It also makes Stanford the first Division I school to win national titles in both men's and women's soccer in the same season.

That achievement matched the Stanford volleyball teams, when the women won in 1996 and '97 and the men's team won in '97.

Stanford (19-2-2) had much of the run of play, outshooting the Hoosiers, 13-5, but with limited clear-cut scoring chances.

The Cardinal defense, however, was spot-on, giving Indiana next to nothing on the way to earning its 12th consecutive postseason shutout – a stretch of 1,214 minutes and 20 seconds. Stanford has played two consecutive NCAA tournaments without allowing a goal.

Indiana (18-1-6) had the penalty area well-stocked when Stanford freshman right back Logan Panchot, whose brother Austin was on the field for Indiana, took a throw-in from the right side. His short throw to Corey Baird toward the corner flag was well-defended.

Baird one-touched the ball back to Panchot, whose back-heel return to Baird allowed him to get around two defenders. Baird turned toward the box and worked a give-and-go to Foster Langsdorf to get around three more.

Baird's left-footed centering pass from inside the box went awry, and was intercepted by Indiana's Griffin Dorsey. But Werner was lurking at the top of the box and stepped forward, causing Dorsey to attempt to dribble around him.

Instead, Werner picked Dorsey clean with his right foot. The effort caused Werner to drop his left knee to the turf, but he quickly recovered and immediately shot with his right foot from 10 yards. It seemed to surprise Indiana and the ball split two defenders and sailed over goalkeeper Trey Muse.

"I really need to watch the tape. I'm not sure what happened," Werner said. "Cory slipped a ball across the net, they kicked it out and I thought I had a chance."

Werner, a redshirt junior and science, technology, and society major from Bozeman, Montana, scored his fifth goal of the year and first game-winner of his collegiate career.

"When you watch the game it's pretty obvious why both teams were there," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "Great attacking players who can score goals but wonderful work ethics from both teams to where both teams were willing to work hard defensively."

The match kicked off in a sunny, crisp 37-degree day on a field lined with snow. Stanford got a good chance from Bryce Marion in the first half after Baird found a seam up the middle, but Muse stretched to his right to get a hand on the low shot.

"Our strategy was not take chances on the back end," Stanford's Tomas Hilliard-Arce said. "We recognized we'd get some long balls and we wanted to stay disciplined."

In the second half, Langsdorf split two defenders with a ball that Baird took deep into the box before Muse had a point-black save at the top of the six-yard box.

Stanford's three titles have come in different ways. In 2015, Jordan Morris helped Stanford to a 4-0 domination of Clemson. Last year, the Cardinal hero was goalkeeper Andrew Epstein in a penalty-kick victory over Wake Forest following a scoreless draw. Now, Werner adds to the list of Stanford heroes with his overtime goal.

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