Stanford (10-6-4) continues its impressive run in the NCAA Tournament this Sunday, visiting No. 2 seed Washington for a third-round match at 5 p.m. Sunday’s match will be webcast at http://pac-12.com/videos/university-washington.
Washington (15-1-4) gained entry into the NCAA Tournament automatically by winning its first Pac-12 title since 2000. The Huskies also earned the draw’s No. 2 seed and a bye into the second round, where they defeated Seattle University 4-2 last Sunday. Washington, helmed by former Stanford standout Jamie Clark, is led by the play of Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Cristian Roldan (seven goals, five assists) and first-team All-Pac-12 pick Darwin Jones (seven goals, four assists) while in goal Ryan Herman owns seven shutouts and a goals-against average of 0.86. On the year the Huskies have outscored opponents 44-16.
Stanford is 16-30-4 all-time against Washington, and is 1-9-2 against the Huskies since the 2008 season, including eight straight losses heading into Sunday’s third-round match. The Cardinal’s last win against the Huskies came via a 4-2 score back on Nov. 7, 2008. This season, Washington swept all six points from Stanford, defeating the Cardinal 3-1 at Cagan Stadium on Oct. 3 then picking up a 2-0 win on Nov. 8 in Seattle.
Last Time Out
Stanford secured passage into the NCAA Tournament Third Round with a pair of triumphs last week over Loyola Marymount and No. 15 seed Cal State Northridge. The Cardinal opened the week by defeating Loyola Marymount 3-2 on penalties after the teams played to a 1-1 draw through 110 minutes. Goalkeeper Drew Hutchins was the Man of the Match in the first round, assisting on Zach Batteer’s equalizer with 17 seconds left in regulation, then, in the penalty shootout, breaking a 2-2 tie in the fifth round and promptly returning to net to stop LMU’s final chance.
Three days later, the Cardinal traveled to Northridge where it got a 21st-minute goal from Matt Taylor off an Aaron Kovar free kick, then made it hold up for the final 69 minutes in a 1-0 victory. The Stanford defense was firm in victory, allowing just eight shots to the Matadors and only one on frame, that being an offering from Northridge goalkeeper Adam Hobbs which skipped into the box and through a crowd before Hutchins settled it.
Stanford In The NCAA Tournament
Stanford is appearing in it’s 10th NCAA Tournament this year and it’s first since 2009, and is one of just four unseeded teams left in the 2013 draw. 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 15-8-3, with a 2-1 mark in matches determined by penalty kicks. Stanford has now advanced to the third round of the postseason in each of its past five appearances (2000-02, 2009, 2013), and with a win Sunday will reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.
Hutchins Earns National Honors
Senior goalkeeper Drew Hutchins enjoyed a career week in Stanford’s matches against Loyola Marymount and Cal State Northridge, and was recognized Tuesday when he was named Top Drawer Soccer’s National Player of the Week and to the outlet’s National Team of the Week. Last Thursday Hutchins assisted on Zach Batteer’s 90th-minute equalizer against LMU, then, during penalties, converted Stanford’s fifth chance to break a 2-2 tie and immediately reutned to goal and stopped the final attempt from the Lions to secure advancement. Sunday, he stopped the only shot on frame while marshaling the Cardinal defense to its fifth shutout in a 1-0 second-round win at No. 15 seed Cal State Northridge.
This season, Hutchins has played every second of the campaign in goal for the Cardinal, making him just one of two Pac-12 iron-man keepers to do so, along with UCLA’s Earl Edwards, Jr. Over his 1893:02 in goal Hutchins has made 60 saves, shutout four opponents and posted a goals-against average of 1.14.
Conference’s Top Freshmen Face Off
Sunday’s third-round match will also feature two of the conference’s, if not the nation’s, top freshmen as Stanford’s Jordan Morris and Washington’s Cristian Roldan take to the pitch. Both players were named to the All-Pac-12 First Team, while Roldan edged out Morris for the conference’s top freshman award. Roldan leads all Pac-12 freshmen with seven goals to Morris’ six, while Morris leads the conference rookies with seven assists. Both players are tied with 19 points.
Defense Is Clicking
Stanford’s defense, with Hutchins in goal and center backs Brandon Vincent and Matt Taylor, along with outside back Ty Conklin, has been on point over the past two weeks, allowing just two goals over Stanford’s past four matches. The group, along with freshman defender Brian Nana-Sinkam, has been responsible for five shutouts this year including two over its past four matches (1-0 victories at Oregon State and Cal State Northridge on Nov. 10 and Nov. 24, respectively).
Homecoming For Kovar, Morris
Sunday’s third-round match also serves as a homecoming of sorts for Cardinal players Aaron Kovar and Jordan Morris, two Seattle-area products. Kovar is a native of Seattle while Morris hails from Mercer Island. Both players were Washington Gatorade Players of the Year (Kovar in 2011, Morris in 2013) and spent time with the Seattle Sounders Academy team.
Fulfilling Finish For The Seniors
Stanford’s three-man senior class of defender Ty Conklin, goalkeeper Drew Hutchins and midfielder JJ Koval is thick into its first NCAA Tournament appearance and aims to continue its goal of playing as many matches this season as it can. All three seniors performed well in 2013, each starting all 20 matches and earning All-Pac-12 recognition with Koval being named to the first team while Conklin and Hutchins were each named honorable mention.
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.