Derek Waldeck scored Stanford's first goal in the 54th minute, assisted on Keegan Hughes' winner in the 80th and the Cardinal knocked off Virginia Tech, 2-1, in the third round of the NCAA men's soccer tournament at Cagan Stadium on Sunday night.
Stanford is among the nation's final eight teams remaining for the fifth consecutive season. The seventh-seeded Cardinal plays this year's quarterfinal at second-seeded Clemson on Friday at 3 p.m.
Stanford advanced to its three most recent College Cups with road victories in the round of eight, wins at Wake Forest in 2015 and 2017 and Louisville in 2016.
"What a fantastic game of soccer," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "It was two tremendous teams with everything on the line. They had chances, we had chances and in the end we were just strong enough to score the decisive goal and see it out."
Scoreless at the half, it didn't take Stanford long to get out in front coming out of the break. The Cardinal kept the ball on the ground, connected passes in slick conditions following a week of rain and the game began to open up a bit. Logan Panchot had a shot saved by Mathijs Swaneveld in the 50th minute before Waldeck's breakthrough.
Jared Gilbey had the ball on the left side and switched it with a looping ball over to Panchot in front of Stanford's bench. Panchot played it to Ousseni Bouda at the top of the box, who spun off the ball without a touch and left it for Zach Ryan. Ryan crossed it back left to Waldeck and the senior captain finished with his left foot at the far post for his fourth goal of the season.
"Derek has been amazing this year," Gunn added. "He is so selfless and will do anything for the team. We play him out of position because that's what the team needs and he nods his head and does it. What a beautiful goal. The passing and the movement were just sublime."
"Coming into the game I was reminding myself this could be the last one in Cagan for me," Waldeck said. "I knew I just wanted to find a way to impact the game somehow. Whether that was getting on the scoresheet or setting someone up. We came out amazingly well those first 10 minutes of the second half and I think we were deserving of the goal."
Like last week in the second round, the Cardinal conceded the equalizer after going up 1-0 in the second half. Virginia Tech's strike came in the 68th minute from Camron Lennon off a Daniel Periera cross.
Waldeck was the catalyst for the deciding goal in the 80th minute when his corner kick bounced around the box and the Hokies were unable to clear. It eventually squirted free to Keegan Hughes at the back post and the freshman buried it with his right foot to push the Cardinal back in front.
"I think we kind of took our foot of the gas a bit once we got that first goal," Waldeck commented. "To come back and get back on the front foot and put away the winner was huge for us. It speaks a lot about the character of the team and our willingness to keep going.
When I'm hitting corners my plan is just to put it in good spots for guys to go and head it. I tell myself if I put it in a good spot they can do the rest and go attack it. That's what I tried to do I think I put it in a decent spot and it bounced around once or twice and then Keegan was in a great spot to slam it home."
Stanford's quarterfinal at Clemson will be a rematch of the 2015 College Cup Final the two played in Kansas City, a 4-0 Cardinal win that was the first of its three consecutive national championships.