NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Matt Taylor put a diving header into the net in the 21st minute of Sunday’s NCAA Tournament second-round match at Cal State Northridge, then went to work on the Cardinal back line that made it hold up for 69 minutes in Stanford’s 1-0 victory.
After a Matador foul to the right of the penalty area, Aaron Kovar lined up a free kick and curled his ball over Northridge goalie Adam Hobbs, leaving an open net into which Taylor powered home his header.
The Cardinal defense allowed just eight shots on the night, and the only Matador attempt to come on frame came from Hobbs, whose offering two minutes from full time bounced into the box but right into the path of Hutchins, who made the save after a brief bobble.
Hutchins continued his stellar postseason, picking up his fifth clean sheet of the campaign three days after assisting on Stanford’s equalizer, converting the match-winner in the penalty shootout then stopping Loyola Marymount’s final attempt in the Cardinal’s first-round triumph.
The win made the Cardinal (10-6-4) one of just four unseeded teams in the draw to reach the third round, where it will face a familiar Pac-12 foe in second-seeded Washington. The Huskies advanced by defeating Seattle University 4-2 on Sunday, and will host the Cardinal next Sunday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. in Seattle. Cal State Northridge finishes the season 15-7-1.
The Cardinal has now reached the Round of 16 in each of its past five NCAA Tournament appearances (2000-02, 2009, 2013) and reached the 10-win mark for the first time since posting 12 victories in 2009.
Stanford pressed for a second after the break, looking to put the Matadors away and very nearly did so on multiple occasions. Three minutes into the half Hobbs was again caught off his line but Bobby Edwards’ header was cleared off the line by the Matador defense. Edwards got another attempt on goal in the 63rd minute but Hobbs was equal to the task, and he again kept the Matadors alive a minute later, turning away a JJ Koval header at the post.
Zach Batteer forced a save from of Hobbs in the 72nd minute, and afterwards the Cardinal would settle in in its own third and bleed out the clock. The defense would block a pair of Matador attempts, the second leading to a corner kick that was cleared out in the 88th minute. That clearance rolled out to Hobbs, who had come up on the attack for the set piece, and the keeper’s bouncer got through everyone except Hutchins, who made his only save.Stanford’s possession kept the Matadors from putting together another chance, as the Cardinal capped off another dominant effort to keep alive its 2013 season.