SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Drew Hutchins and the Cardinal defense made Eric Verso’s 10th-minute header stand up as Stanford notched its first win of the 2013 campaign Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The shutout, the first clean sheet of the campaign for the Cardinal, ups the squad’s record to 1-1-1, while Santa Clara falls to 0-3-0 with the defeat. Stanford returns to action next Friday, Sept. 13 to host Grand Canyon University at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Stanford enjoyed a large majority of the possession Saturday night and outshot Santa Clara by a 12-5 margin. The Broncos managed just one shot on goal in the contest, but Hutchins easily corralled the header from Edson Cardona en route to earning the shutout on a night where he was rarely troubled.
The Cardinal, meanwhile, put six on frame and forced Bronco goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh into five saves. Zach Batteer and Mark Verso sent headers on net in the opening six minutes to ignite a bright start for the Cardinal.
It would only take 10 minutes until the Cardinal got what would end up being the decisive goal. Bobby Edwards earned a free kick on the right wing that started the Cardinal scoring sequence. Aaron Kovar served into the box where Batteer’s header hit the crossbar and dropped right in front of the line to be cleared out in a wild scramble. The clearance went right back to the Cardinal and was sent right back into the box, this time from the left side. Verso beat a Bronco defender to the loose ball and powered a shot into the crossbar but a generous rebound went right back to the La Canada native and his second-chance header found the inside of the left post for his first goal of 2013.
Verso and younger brother Mark would prove to be a threatening pair up front for the Cardinal, combining for four shots and three on frame as both made their first starts of the season. In the 78th minute Mark had a chance to make it a family brace but his one-timer from Eric’s centering feed went just wide of goal.
Santa Clara’s best chance of the first half came in the 22nd minute when Max Ornstil curled a shot over Hutchins but off the top of the crossbar and over from just inside the center of the box.
Ty Thompson would manage a pair of chances in the second half, but his shots in the 48th and 60th minutes would go just wide to the left. In the 66th minute JJ Koval would get his head on a free kick into the box but the captain’s offering would end up just wide of goal.
The Broncos would get off four shots in the half, including their only attempt on goal, but the Cardinal defense was resolute, stifling opportunities before Santa Clara could get into a threatening range.