Stanford men's soccer heads to Southern California for the second time in three weeks, this time to face No. 6 UCLA and San Diego State in Pac-12 action. Thursday night's contest at UCLA will be broadcast live at 5:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network while Sunday's match, which is not televised, will kickoff at 12 p.m.
The Cardinal (6-2-1, 1-1-0 Pac-12, three points) enters the weekend just one point off the top of the Pac-12 table, looking up at No. 1 California and No. 3 Washington. Thursday night's match at UCLA (6-2-1, 1-0-0) will be Stanford's fourth this season against a top-10 team with the Cardinal owning a record of 0-2-1 in the previous three. Stanford played to a 3-3 draw with then-No. 2 Maryland on Aug. 30, fell 2-0 to then-No. 3 Georgetown on Sept. 1 and last Thursday dropped a 3-1 decision to No. 3 Washington.
Stanford bounced back from last weekend's opening loss to the Huskies to grab three points with a 2-1 win over Oregon State Sunday behind goals from Zach Batteer and Jordan Morris. For Batteer it was his team-leading fifth goal of the campaign, and he earned his first assist on Morris' winner. Morris netted his third goal of the campaign, and has also assisted on three others.
Sophomore midfielder Aaron Kovar has served as the Cardinal's top set-up man, assisting on four goals this season with his pinpoint crosses. Fellow midfielder JJ Koval has lived up to his position of team captain, winning 50-50 balls in the air and serving as the conduit of Stanford's dominant possession game.
Drew Hutchins has played every second of the campaign (834:38) in goal for the Cardinal, posting a goals-against average of 1.19 with three shutouts. Behind the play of Hutchins and his back line of Brandon Vincent, Matt Taylor and Ty Conklin the Cardinal has allowed an opponent more than one goal just once in the past seven matches.
Heading into Thursday's match UCLA leads the all-time series with Stanford, 35-7-4, although last Nov. 1 the Bruins needed two overtimes to claim a 2-1 win over the Cardinal. Stanford is 9-12-5 overall against San Diego State but has won the last three meetings including a 4-0 thumping of the Aztecs last Nov. 3 in San Diego.