The home stretch of the 2013 men's soccer campaign begins Friday night at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium as Stanford opens the final round of Pac-12 play against No. 3 UCLA at 6 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Bay Area.
Friday night is also Graduate Students Night at Cagan Stadium. Stanford graduate students showing their SUID at the ticket window will receive $2 off general admission (GA) tickets for themselves along with family and spouses. The team is also hosting Scout Night, in which group ticket prices are available for all local scouting organizations and troops with promo code BSCOUTS.
The match against the third-ranked Bruins is also a Red Zone Point Night, where students can receive loyalty points for supporting the Cardinal men's soccer team.
The Cardinal (7-4-2, 1-3-1 Pac-12, four points), which defeated San Francisco 2-1 in overtime last Friday, can strengthen its case for its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2009 with results this weekend against the Bruins and San Diego State. Stanford hosts the Aztecs Sunday at 1 p.m.
Following Sunday's match former Stanford standout and current San Jose Earthquake Adam Jahn '13 will sign post-match autographs for fans.
Friday night's victory over the Dons upped the Cardinal's non-conference record to 6-1-1 this season, a mark which includes a 3-3 draw and 2-1 away win against current No. 8 Maryland and No. 16 UC Santa Barbara, respectively. Even in defeat the Cardinal have performed well, falling just 1-0 on late goals at UCLA and No. 1 California, and the team's four losses have come to teams which are all currently ranked in the NSCAA Poll's top five.
The Pac-12 has also established itself as one of, if not the top conference in the country for men's soccer, boasting three teams in the NSCAA's top four: California (No. 1), UCLA (No. 3) and Washington (No. 4). Stanford, in fact, is the only other Pac-12 team along with that trio to own multiple results (wins and draws) against a currently-ranked opponent.
Stanford will have plenty of motivation for Friday night's home leg against the Bruins. UCLA scored the winner in the 89th minute of the meeting in Westwood and defeated the Cardinal 1-0 on Oct. 10, despite the Cardinal having firm control of the second half of play.
Stanford opens the weekend led offensively by junior forward Zach Batteer, the team's top goal-scorer with seven on the campaign. Batteer gathered his third brace of the year last Friday, accounting for both Cardinal goals against USF capped by the overtime winner in the 97th minute. Alongside him up front freshman Jordan Morris has bolstered his consideration for Pac-12 Freshman of the Year by scoring four goals of his own and leading the Cardinal with six assists, including one on Batteer's opener Friday.
Captain and senior JJ Koval marshals the midfield while on the back line sophomore Brandon Vincent anchors the center back position along with the platoon of junior Matt Taylor and freshman Brian Nana-Sinkam, who has returned from injury.
In goal Friday's match offers a unique matchup as Cardinal goalkeeper Drew Hutchins and Bruin netminder Earl Edwards, Jr. are the only two keepers in the conference to play every second of the campaign for their respective teams. Hutchins has posted three clean sheets and a goals-against average of 1.25, while Edwards, Jr. owns five shutouts and a GAA of 1.19.
UCLA (8-3-4, 3-1-3 Pac-12, 12 points) is led by the scoring duo of Leo Stolz and Victor Chavez, who have each scored six times on the year. Victor Munoz has served as the main set-up man for the Bruins, assisting on six goals.
San Diego State (5-8-1, 2-4-1 Pac-12, seven points), which played Stanford to a wild 3-3 draw back on Oct. 13 in San Diego, begins the weekend at California Friday afternoon. The Aztecs, led by the play of Jordan Ongaro (eight goals) and Abraham Villon (six goals, five assists), aim for their third win in conference play.
Sunday's match is Professional Soccer Day, where fans wearing professional soccer gear receive $2 off of a GA ticket at the Cagan Stadium ticket window. Additionally, youths who present a test or report card with an "A" on it can get a youth ticket for just $2 (limit four per family).