Forward Zach Batteer netted his second brace of the campaign and goalkeeper Drew Hutchins came up with some key saves late as Stanford won its third straight match, 2-0 over College of Charleston Friday night at Cagan Stadium.
The win improved Stanford’s record to 3-1-1 and the three-game winning streak is the Cardinal’s first since Oct. 10-17, 2010. The Cardinal aims to make it four in a row Sunday at 1 p.m. when it hosts Colgate in a match set for broadcast on Pac-12 Bay Area.
The Cardinal outshot the Cougars 20-10 for the match while Hutchins and the defense posted their second clean sheet of the season.
"We're playing some great soccer and have been playing great soccer all year," said Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn. "At the beginning of the season we've been working a bit more on our defensive shape and as we've gone through the weeks we've been working more and more on attacking and it's really been showing."
Stanford needed just over a minute to tally its first goal Friday night. The Cardinal earned a corner kick 52 seconds into the match, playing it short and looking for an option in the box. When Aaron Kovar’s cross was cleared out to the sideline, the sophomore delivered a throw-in which Matt Taylor nodded towards Batteer for the finishing header.
The Cardinal continued heaping the pressure onto the Cougars, getting seven shots off and forcing a pair of saves from Charleston goalkeeper Ryan McLaughlin within the opening 11:02. Jordan Morris forced McLaughlin into action again in the 26th minute and Brandon Vincent’s header from a Kovar corner was stopped by McLaughlin in the 28th. For the half, the Cardinal outshot the Cougars 14-2 and dominated the possession.
As the second half got underway, Batteer nearly doubled the Cardinal lead. The junior forward got to a low cross across the goal mouth and fired a shot that had McLaughlin wrong-footed and looked headed home but a Cougar defender was able to step into its path and redirect it out for a corner kick. The corner kick came to nothing but Cougars almost stunned the Cardinal on the counter. The Cougars played into the Cardinal box where Tucker Coon settled the ball with his back to goal and was able to turn a shot on frame but Hutchins was positioned well for the stop.
Batteer, however, would not be denied on his second chance to double the advantage just past the hour mark. The goal was set up by a brilliant run from Morris, who sped past the Cougar defense to the goal line, where he played a nice ball back to Batteer who tapped in for his fourth goal of the campaign.
"He's doing great, he's doing his job very well," Gunn said about Batteer's performance. "Like I've said all along, he's added so much to his game since last year. He's a much better attacker, much better soccer player, much better finisher, so he's brimming with confidence."
Both sides began using their substitutions minutes later, and the Cougars steadily began pressing to get back into the match. Yet Hutchins continued to stonewall Charleston’s chances, first making a point-blank save of Christian Jablonski’s volley and forcing Joblanski’s follow up over the bar in the 84th minute. Troy Peterson would have his 88th-minute opportunity palmed wide of the net by a diving Hutchins and then the Cardinal goalkeeper would smother a blocked header from Coons in the 89th minute to seal the shutout.
"I think I saw one or two shots for 85 minutes and then had a few saves at the end, but that's going to happen in any game where you're up 2-0," Hutchins said. "Defense has been phenomenal all year, really."