Stanford men let the Pac-12 soccer title celebration begin | News | Palo Alto Online |


Stanford men let the Pac-12 soccer title celebration begin


Stanford had some celebrating to do on Thursday night. The No. 6 Cardinal's 1-0 victory on The Farm over rival and No. 23 Cal to close out its regular season was sandwiched between a pregame recognition honoring the program's decorated senior class and a postgame ceremony celebrating its second consecutive Pac-12 championship.

In between, redshirt freshman Sam Werner's seventh-minute slip to the far post was all Stanford needed to set a school record for Pac-12 wins. The Cardinal upped its record against Cal to 7-1-2 in its last 10 and 7-1-2 in conference matches in 2015 (14-2-2 overall).

Stanford, which clinched the conference's automatic bid by virtue of its title, will discover its postseason schedule Monday when the NCAA bracket is announced over a live stream on at 10 a.m.

In the seventh minute, Eric Verso centered the ball for Corey Baird, who turned up field and slid it across to Werner, who took a touch and slipped it far post past Cal keeper Jonathan Klinsmann. The Cardinal midfielder, starting his seventh game, has scored in back-to-back outings.

Stanford, which clinched at least a share of the league title by virtue of a 2-0 victory at Oregon State on October 31, claimed the trophy outright following Washington's 1-1 draw at San Diego State last Friday night.

"This is such an amazing conference with such good coaches and unbelievable players," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "The standard of the game is incredible. For the players to do what they've done this year makes you obviously very, very proud as a coach. Hopefully we can enjoy the moment, regroup and then focus on the next task at hand. We want to keep playing as many soccer games as we can."

Stanford is 8-0-2 at home this season and is 17-1-6 in its last 24 matches at Cagan Stadium.

Stanford's ninth shutout of the season matched its most since 2009, and lowered Andrew Epstein's goals against average to 0.65. His seven solo shutouts in are tied for ninth in program single-season history with Craig Ueland (1977) and Willie Burkhardt (1983).

Slater Meehan, Ty Thompson, Verso and Brandon Vincent were honored in a pregame ceremony. They have led the Cardinal to 46 wins, back-to-back Pac-12 championships and three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament.

In other soccer news,

Stanford senior All-American Brandon Vincent was named the Pac-12 Men's Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Thursday.

The award, which is presented in each of the 22 sports the league sponsors, was established to honor student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline. Vincent is Stanford's second men's soccer awardee, joining Bobby Warshaw in 2010.

The Cardinal's senior captain is also one of 10 men's finalists for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate soccer. That award is given to a NCAA Division I senior student-athlete who has notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

Academically, the senior owns a 3.3 GPA and has twice been a Pac-12 all-academic selection. One of 23 Stanford student-athletes majoring in economics, Vincent will graduate two quarters early, finishing his studies at the end of the fall session.

Vincent has anchored Stanford's back line over the past four years, starting in each and every one of his 74 appearances. Widely regarded as one of the nation's best defenders, Vincent was a NSCAA/Continental Tire First Team All-American and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and is a candidate for the 2015 MAC Hermann Trophy.

He has led the Cardinal to its most successful two-season stretch in a decade. Stanford is currently ranked sixth in the nation, fifth in the official NCAA RPI and has already locked up its second consecutive Pac-12 title and third straight NCAA Tournament berth.

Offensively, Vincent is third on the team with four goals in 2015, and has 10 over Stanford's last 33 matches after scoring just once in his first 41 career games.

Women' volleyball

In a battle between two top-10 teams, third-ranked Washington defeated No. 6 Stanford, 23-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-15, Thursday, in front of more than 3,600 fans at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.

The loss drops the Cardinal to 17-6 overall and 11-4 in the Pac-12, while the Huskies improve to 23-2 and 13-2 in the conference.

Playing without freshman Hayley Hodson, who suffered an injury in practice earlier in the week and is day-to-day, the Cardinal was out hit by the Huskies .329 to .193.

Washington also won the defensive battle, tallying 13 blocks and 71 digs to the Cardinal's 5 blocks and 63 digs.

Starting in place of Hodson was sophomore Sidney Brown, who finished one kill shy of a double-double. She notched a season-best nine kills and a career-high 12 digs.

Senior outside hitter Jordan Burgess led Stanford with a season-high 14 kills to go with five digs and a block.

Senior setter Madi Bugg finished with her team-best 10th double-double of the year with 46 assists and 12 digs. Redshirt sophomore Merete Lutz led the team with a .407 attack percentage, totaling 13 kills and three blocks.

Senior outside hitter Brittany Howard added 10 kills and 15 digs for her seventh double-double of the season. Freshman libero Halland McKenna collected 16 digs, marking her 18th double-digit dig performance this year.

Stanford finishes its road trip at Washington State on Sunday at 11 a.m., on Pac-12 Bay Area.

B Men's tennis ==

Stanford's Tom Fawcett and David Wilczynski each won their opening round matches Thursday at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Fawcett and Wilczynski opened in doubles action, losing to Notre Dame's Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan, 6-2, 6-3.

In singles, Fawcett downed Monaghan, 6-2, 6-4 and Wilczynski rallied from a first set loss to beat Shawn Hadavi of Columbia, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The round of 16 in singles continues Friday for Fawcett and Wilcynski ,as well as doubles consolation matches.

==B Women's tennis

Stanford completed competition in the main draw on the first day of play at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York on Thursday.

Taylor Davidson dropped a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Florida's Brooke Austin in the opening round.

Davidson advanced to New York by sweeping the singles and doubles titles at the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships two weeks ago at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

In doubles, Davidson and Caroline Doyle suffered a 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (7) loss to Florida's Austin and Kourtney Keegan in the second round.

— Stanford Athletics

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