Slater Meehan's late, first-half goal proved to be the difference in a dominant effort for the No. 16 Stanford men's soccer team and the Cardinal won its home opener, 1-0, over Northeastern at Cagan Stadium on Friday night.
"I thought we passed and moved the ball incredibly tonight," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "It was mesmerizing at times. The players really enjoyed zipping the ball around and as a result we created great chances. It was a great team performance and a great 1-0 result."
The ball squirted loose in the 38th minute off a Corey Baird corner kick and to the feet of Meehan. The senior settled it and cracked it into the back of the net from just outside the 18.
"It was fantastic to see that goal," Gunn said. "Slater and Thommo (Ty Thompson) were unbelievable tonight and I think it was a good reward for that central midfield partnership."
Stanford put five of its 16 shots on target, but also had three others hit the post. In the seventh minute, Thompson stole the ball and passed ahead to Baird, whose well-struck attempt hit the goal at the intersection of the left post and crossbar.
Foster Langsdorf funneled his way through traffic in the box twice in the second half to put himself in scoring position, but both tries, one in the 56th minute and another in the 71st minute, hit the post.
"When you look at the chances and how many times we hit the post, it wasn't on our side tonight," Gunn said. "But I'm happy we're creating those good chances and very happy with the offensive output. A couple of the guys, though, will feel a bit unlucky that they didn't put the ball in."
The Cardinal is 10-1-4 in its last 15 matches on The Farm. Over that time, Stanford has outscored its opponents at home, 26-10, and not allowed more than one goal in any of the 15 contests.
Andrew Epstein recorded his seventh shutout in his 22nd career start for the Cardinal in goal. Stanford has only allowed one goal in its first three matches of 2015, its best defensive start to a season since it began 2004 with five straight shutouts.
Ryan Walker-Hartshorn scored in the 84th minute to help No. 2 Stanford complete a dominating, 1-0, victory at Cal Poly on Friday night.
The Cardinal (3-0) controlled the game from start to finish, holding advantages in shots (18-3) and corner kicks (12-0) but could not break through until Walker-Hartshorn's left-footed finish with six minutes to play in regulation.
Stanford had shots hit the crossbar, sail just wide of the post or stopped by Cal Poly goalkeeper Alyssa Giannetti who had a strong game in goal for the Mustangs (1-2-2) and made eight quality saves.
Senior Haley Rosen initiated the scoring play with a nice pass to Walker-Hartshorn from the right side of the field just outside the penalty box.
With her back to the goal, Walker-Hartshorn received the pass, turned over her right shoulder toward the goal and away from her defender, and fired a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.
It is Walker-Hartshorn's first goal of the year and the third game-winning goal of her career.
Rosen had a terrific game in the midfield, constantly generating scoring opportunities and being a dangerous presence around the goal. Her hard work was rewarded with her second assist of the year on Walker-Hartshorn's game-winner.
Stanford's backline was solid and did well to limit Cal Poly's attack near midfield. The Mustangs managed a couple opportunities inside Stanford's final third but the Cardinal defense prevented any shots on frame.
It is Stanford's second consecutive shutout and the Cardinal has not allowed a goal in the past 269:29 minutes. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell earned her first clean-sheet of the year and the 19th of her career tying her for No. 6 on Stanford's all-time list with Carly Smolak (1997-2000).
The Cardinal controlled a heavy majority of possession throughout the game and peppered Cal Poly with shots regularly.
Stephanie Amack led the team with four shots, followed by Andi Sullivan and Michelle Xiao with three, and five other players with at least one shot.
Stanford returns home for a Monday night matchup against No. 9 BYU at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Stanford improves to 9-0 against Cal Poly all-time . . . Stanford has outshot opponents 66-10 and holds a 27-0 corner kick advantage this season . . . The Cardinal has limited opponents to three shots in the second half this season . . . After allowing a goal 31 seconds into the season at Hawai'i, Stanford has not allowed a goal over the past 269:29 minutes.