Goals from Zach Batteer and Jordan Morris proved to be enough for Stanford Sunday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, lifting the Cardinal to a 2-1 win over Oregon State.
The win gives the Cardinal (6-2-1, 1-1-0 Pac-12, three points) its first three points of the conference campaign and vaults it into the mix around the top of the table behind only Washington and California, which each have four points. Oregon State fell to 7-4-0 overall and 0-2-0 in conference play with the loss.
“It was a hot day, second game of the weekend, very tough for both teams but I felt that in the second half we definitely deserved to win in the long run because we kept creating chances and getting openings,” said Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn. “Overall I felt that on the day against a very good Oregon State team we deserved the result.”
Morris provided the winner just past the hour mark Sunday, latching onto Batteer’s centering feed and lashing past Oregon State goalkeeper Matt Bersano for his third goal of the season. The goal capped a strong sequence for the Cardinal freshman, who started it by fighting through a pair of Beaver defenders for possession, found open space and fed Batteer down the right flank. The ball to Batteer erased the last defender, leaving the Cardinal duo alone with Bersano. Batteer rolled his pass to the foot of Morris who finished strongly to the far post.
The Cardinal had been knocking on the door for much of the match in search of the go-ahead goal and Morris’ goal came on a play that Stanford was able to create numerous times Sunday against the Beavers. Stanford outshot Oregon State 18-12 for the match, and put seven shots on frame. The Cardinal midfield was able to create many chances, sending through balls into open space for Batteer and Morris, and it was just some fine efforts by Bersano that kept it from becoming a rout.
“[Oregon State] sat off of us a little bit, so that meant that we had a little more time on the ball and were more critical with distribution,” Gunn said about the Cardinal’s midfield play. “They became the playmakers. The first goal was a lovely cross from Jimmy and a great header, the moment it left [Zach’s] head you knew it was going in. The second goal was a lovely sweeping move that I think the guys will enjoy watching.”
In the Cardinal goal Drew Hutchins made three saves, being beaten only in the 32nd minute when Mike Reckmeyer was able to get by the Cardinal defense, walk in along the goal line and set up Ole Sandnes to tap in. Hutchins and the defense did well to shake off the goal, allowing just two more efforts on frame the rest of the match, neither of which threatened all that much.
Sandnes’ goal answered a masterful header from Batteer in the 27th minute. Jimmy Callinan served a great ball to the corner of the penalty area where an unmarked Batteer thumped a header that beat Bersano into the upper-90 at the far post.
The goal from Batteer came on Stanford’s ninth shot of the match, and nearly a minute and a half later Aaron Kovar, who took six shots on the day, forced a save out of Bersano. When Sandnes equalized just five minutes later, the half would slow down, as only one more shot was mustered by either side.
Stanford teed off at the Oregon State goal to open the second half, forcing three saves from Bersano over the opening 10 minutes and then breaking through for the lead with Morris’ shot in the 62nd minute. Batteer and Morris had each gotten into one-on-one situations against Bersano but the Beaver goalkeeper came off his line and was able to smother each attempt.
Stanford would miss on a chance to double its advantage in the 77th minute. The Cardinal earned a free kick just outside the penalty area and to the left of Bersano, but Kovar’s curling shot went just high. The Beavers would bring on subs in the final minutes for one last push and almost had the moves pay off in the 88th minute. Michael Steele was able to settle a pass in the center of the area and had a wide-open goal at his mercy but his shot hit a teammate and deflected away, and with that the Beavers’ last chance of substance had passed.