Sports

Thomas defends the cage for Stanford in NCAA men's soccer

Andrew Thomas stopped four of Seattle's five attempts in the shootout and the Stanford men's soccer team prevailed in penalties yet again, 2-1, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament following a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes at Cagan Stadium on Sunday.

The Cardinal (13-2-4) has come out on top in eight consecutive postseason shootouts dating to 2002 and six in the past five years. No. 7 Stanford will host No. 23 Virginia Tech, which beat New Hampshire 4-1, on Sunday at 5 p.m. with a quarterfinal berth on the line.

Thomas added yet another chapter to the Cardinal's shootout lore and seemed to be a move ahead of every Redhawk that stepped to the spot.

"We were confident," Thomas said. "I was confident in the boys to do their thing. We've practiced it a ton in recent weeks and we knew what we had to do. Everyone trusted their plan. I trusted my ability to save a couple of penalties and I trusted the boys to score a couple."

It started with a stop of James Morris and then a successful take by Logan Panchot. Hal Uderitz was next and converted for Seattle before Thomas took over.

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The redshirt sophomore knocked away attempts from Noe Meza, Jesse Ortiz and finally Hamish Ritchie to seal it for Stanford. Thomas dove to his right each time and put up his fingers with his save count after each successive stop.

"I just wanted to remind the opposition that it was my box and I was going to be saving a few more," Thomas added.

Tanner Beason, Stanford's goal scorer in the 61st minute, was its third to go in the shootout and buried the deciding PK.

"We've been in these situations," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "We practice for it and we do our best to prepare. It comes down to executing and preparation helps execution. It takes courage from each player to step up and it takes some great abilities from the goalkeeper to make saves like that."

Stanford and Thomas advanced past Saint Mary's in the third round of last year's NCAA Tournament after a penalty shootout, 4-2. In the second round in 2017 it was Nico Corti between the pipes and he made a save of Camden Riley's second shot for Pacific to put Stanford in a comfortable position for an eventual 4-1 PK triumph.

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The Cardinal won its 2016 national title following a pair of shootouts at the College Cup in Houston. It bested North Carolina in the semis, 10-9, and appeared dead in the final until Andrew Epstein made back-to-back saves to seal the 5-4 win for Stanford and its second consecutive NCAA Championship.

Epstein saved Akron's 10th attempt in a 2015 College Cup semi and Stanford advanced past Akron, 8-7, and two days later would crush Clemson, 4-0, for its first of three consecutive national championships.

The Cardinal looked good to win it in regulation when Tanner Beason scored off a Logan Panchot free kick in the 61st minute. In his second match back from injury after missing eight conference games, Stanford's redshirt senior captain put in his first goal since Sept. 13.

"It's a tremendous lift," Gunn said of having Beason back. "He's been a cornerstone of the program. Tanner is such a special individual and special player that it's great for us to have him back in the team."

Seattle tied it up in the 75th minute when Meza headed in a Ritchie corner to pull the Redhawks even.

Next Sunday's meeting will be the first between Stanford and Virginia Tech.

"We've got another week of soccer," Thomas said of the opportunity. "Let's make the most of it."

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— Staff report

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Thomas defends the cage for Stanford in NCAA men's soccer

Uploaded: Sun, Nov 24, 2019, 11:01 pm

Andrew Thomas stopped four of Seattle's five attempts in the shootout and the Stanford men's soccer team prevailed in penalties yet again, 2-1, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament following a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes at Cagan Stadium on Sunday.

The Cardinal (13-2-4) has come out on top in eight consecutive postseason shootouts dating to 2002 and six in the past five years. No. 7 Stanford will host No. 23 Virginia Tech, which beat New Hampshire 4-1, on Sunday at 5 p.m. with a quarterfinal berth on the line.

Thomas added yet another chapter to the Cardinal's shootout lore and seemed to be a move ahead of every Redhawk that stepped to the spot.

"We were confident," Thomas said. "I was confident in the boys to do their thing. We've practiced it a ton in recent weeks and we knew what we had to do. Everyone trusted their plan. I trusted my ability to save a couple of penalties and I trusted the boys to score a couple."

It started with a stop of James Morris and then a successful take by Logan Panchot. Hal Uderitz was next and converted for Seattle before Thomas took over.

The redshirt sophomore knocked away attempts from Noe Meza, Jesse Ortiz and finally Hamish Ritchie to seal it for Stanford. Thomas dove to his right each time and put up his fingers with his save count after each successive stop.

"I just wanted to remind the opposition that it was my box and I was going to be saving a few more," Thomas added.

Tanner Beason, Stanford's goal scorer in the 61st minute, was its third to go in the shootout and buried the deciding PK.

"We've been in these situations," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "We practice for it and we do our best to prepare. It comes down to executing and preparation helps execution. It takes courage from each player to step up and it takes some great abilities from the goalkeeper to make saves like that."

Stanford and Thomas advanced past Saint Mary's in the third round of last year's NCAA Tournament after a penalty shootout, 4-2. In the second round in 2017 it was Nico Corti between the pipes and he made a save of Camden Riley's second shot for Pacific to put Stanford in a comfortable position for an eventual 4-1 PK triumph.

The Cardinal won its 2016 national title following a pair of shootouts at the College Cup in Houston. It bested North Carolina in the semis, 10-9, and appeared dead in the final until Andrew Epstein made back-to-back saves to seal the 5-4 win for Stanford and its second consecutive NCAA Championship.

Epstein saved Akron's 10th attempt in a 2015 College Cup semi and Stanford advanced past Akron, 8-7, and two days later would crush Clemson, 4-0, for its first of three consecutive national championships.

The Cardinal looked good to win it in regulation when Tanner Beason scored off a Logan Panchot free kick in the 61st minute. In his second match back from injury after missing eight conference games, Stanford's redshirt senior captain put in his first goal since Sept. 13.

"It's a tremendous lift," Gunn said of having Beason back. "He's been a cornerstone of the program. Tanner is such a special individual and special player that it's great for us to have him back in the team."

Seattle tied it up in the 75th minute when Meza headed in a Ritchie corner to pull the Redhawks even.

Next Sunday's meeting will be the first between Stanford and Virginia Tech.

"We've got another week of soccer," Thomas said of the opportunity. "Let's make the most of it."

— Staff report

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