Stanford (9-6-3) makes its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2009 this Thursday night when it hosts West Coast Conference champion Loyola Marymount (13-4-2) at 7 p.m. in first-round action.
About Loyola Marymount
Loyola Marymount (13-4-2) clinched the first West Coast Conference title in program history in its finale last Friday, defeating Santa Clara, 1-0, at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Lions will be making the program’s sixth NCAA Tournament appearance Thursday, and like Stanford their most recent postseason appearance came in 2009.
Head coach Paul Krumpe is in his 16th season at the LMU helm, owning a career record of 145-134-6 (.519). His squad is led by the play of Adrien Perez (10 goals, five assists) and John McFarlin (four goals, 10 assists) in the field, and between the posts Paul Blanchette owns a 0.81 goals-against average and seven shutouts.
Against Loyola Marymount
Stanford is 2-1-0 all-time against Loyola Marymount, with the first meeting between the schools taking place in 1983. LMU, however, captured the most recent meeting, defeating the Cardinal 2-1 in overtime last season on Sept. 21.
Last Time Out
Stanford arguably sealed its NCAA Tournament berth in last Wednesday’s regular-season finale with a 2-1 overtime win against No. 5 California at Cagan Stadium. Sophomore midfielder Aaron Kovar scored the winner in the 92nd minute, latching onto the 50-50 winner of JJ Koval, dribbling into the box through a crowd of defenders and finishing with his right foot. Earlier in the match Kovar played a textbook long ball up the left flank to spring Jordan Morris into the box where the freshman centered to Zach Batteer for the opener.
Stanford In The NCAA Tournament
Thursday night will mark Stanford’s 10th NCAA Tournament appearance. Since its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1991, Stanford has posted a pair of national runner-up finishes (1998, 2002), reached three College Cups (1998, 2001-02), and accumulated a record of 14-8-2, with a 1-1 mark in matches determined by penalty kicks. In its most recent tournament appearance (2009), Stanford opened the draw with a home win over Saint Mary’s and defeated UC Irvine away before falling at Akron, 2-0, in the third round.
Eight Earn All-Pac-12 Recognition
The 2013 All-Pac-12 Teams were announced Tuesday, and Stanford was well-represented among the honorees as voted by the conference’s head coaches. The Cardinal placed three players on the first team, tied with Washington for most among conference teams, as junior forward Zach Batteer, senior midfielder JJ Koval and freshman forward Jordan Morris earned top honors. Sophomore defender Brandon Vincent was named to the second team while senior defender Ty Conklin, sophomore midfielders Aaron Kovar and Ty Thompson, and senior goalkeeper Drew Hutchins were all named honorable mention. Overall, Stanford’s eight selections matched California and Washington for most among Pac-12 teams.
Goals Up Front
Stanford enters the NCAA Tournament with its attack on point as strikers Zach Batteer and Jordan Morris, both selected to the All-Pac-12 First Team, have combined to score 14 goals. Batteer has followed up a six-goal 2012 campaign with a career- and team-high eight so far in 2013, while Morris has made a strong collegiate debut with six goals, seven assists and 19 points, all either tops or tied for the top among Pac-12 freshmen. Also helping out the duo up front is Eric Verso, who has scored three times this season.
Fulfilling Finish For The Seniors
Stanford’s three-man senior class of defender Ty Conklin, goalkeeper Drew Hutchins and midfielder JJ Koval enjoyed a nice Senior Night last Wednesday when the Cardinal defeated No. 5 California 2-1 in overtime. That win earned the trio not only its first NCAA Tournament appearance but one more contest at Cagan Stadium with Thursday night’s match against LMU. All three seniors performed well in 2013, each starting all 18 matches and earning All-Pac-12 recognition with Koval being named to the first team while Conklin and Hutchins were each named honorable mention.
Iron Man In Goal
Senior goalkeeper Drew Hutchins has played every second of the campaign in goal for the Cardinal, making him just one of two Pac-12 iron-man keepers along with UCLA’s Earl Edwards, Jr. Over his 1693:02 in goal Hutchins has made 56 saves, shutout four opponents and posted a goals-against average of 1.22.
Looking Back On The 2013 Schedule
A case can be made that Stanford played one of, if not the toughest schedule in the nation in 2013. The Cardinal went 6-1-1 in non-conference action which included a 3-3 draw against NCAA Tournament team Maryland and a 2-1 overtime win at another eventual NCAA Tournament squad in UC Santa Barbara. The Pac-12 proved to be the strongest conference with the nation’s top conference RPI, and the Cardinal’s six losses this season came against teams that are seeded in the top six of the NCAA Tournament (two losses each to No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Washington, one loss to No. 4 California, one loss to No. 6 Georgetown).
Four Named CoSIDA All-Academic All-District
Four Stanford players, goalkeeper Drew Hutchins, midfielder JJ Koval, defender Ty Conklin and forward Eric Verso were named on Oct. 31 to the Capital One Academic All-District 8 Team.
Head Coach Jeremy Gunn
Head coach Jeremy Gunn is in his second year at the helm of the Cardinal program in 2013 with a record of 18-14-4 (.556). Currently in his 15th season as a head coach, Gunn’s career has included stops at Fort Lewis College and Charlotte and his overall career record is 205-75-35 (.706). At Fort Lewis he guided the program to a Division II NCAA title in 2005 as well as three total appearances in the Division II National Championship Match. Over his five years at Charlotte prior to coming to Stanford, Gunn led the 49ers to a pair of NCAA Tournaments including a run to the College Cup and the national title match in 2011.