Stanford men’s soccer will make its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2009, as the Cardinal earned an at-large berth in the 2013 draw. The Cardinal will host West Coast Conference champion Loyola Marymount Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
“We’re very excited to be in the tournament,” said head coach Jeremy Gunn, who is in his second season at Stanford’s helm. “Our team is playing really well, and our confidence is very high. At the beginning of this season we set the goal to play as many games as we can, and that goal is still very much alive.”
The Cardinal finished the regular season with a 9-6-3 record and placed fourth on the Pac-12 table with 11 points (3-5-2 record), closing the regular-season campaign with a statement win over California Wednesday, 2-1 in overtime.
“We’re very excited to get an opportunity in the tournament, we’ve worked hard all year and deserve it,” said senior midfielder and team captain JJ Koval. “We’re a hard team to beat, and we’ve beat some very good teams. This is the opportunity we wanted and it’s cool to see a lot of hard work pay off. The team’s put everything we’ve had into the past four months to get to this moment, but it doesn’t stop there, we want to go further.”
Stanford is one of four Pac-12 teams to receive a bid to the tournament. UCLA received the draw’s top seed, Washington the second seed and California was seeded fourth. In fact, seven teams from the West were among the 16 national seeds.
The winner of Thursday night’s first-round match will travel to Southern California, where 15th-seeded Cal State Northridge awaits Sunday night at 7 p.m.
Stanford is 2-1-0 all-time against Loyola Marymount. The teams met at Cagan Stadium last year, with the Lions capturing a 2-1 overtime win on Sept. 21, 2012.