The 2002 Stanford men's soccer team came within one victory of capturing the school's first NCAA title, falling 1-0 to UCLA in the championship game of its second consecutive College Cup appearance. The Cardinal recovered from a tough midseason stretch by winning four consecutive NCAA Tournament games and six in a row overall to reach the national finals for only the second time in school history. Stanford finished the campaign with an 18-5-2 overall record with three of the five losses coming at the hands of the national champion Bruins.
The All-American senior trio of Todd Dunivant, Roger Levesque and Johanes Maliza led the Cardinal. Levesque paced the team in scoring with 27 points on seven goals and a team-high 13 assists. Maliza was second on the club with 22 points on eight goals and six assists, while Dunivant's two goals and 11 assists made him fourth on the club with 15 points.
"Last year's team was led by a great group of experienced players," said head coach Bret Simon. "They were able to get through several obstacles and keep focused on their goals all season."
The team's postseason run began with one of the most memorable games in school history when the Cardinal edged Portland in penalty shots, 10-9, in a second round NCAA Tournament match at Maloney Field after the two teams battled through regulation and two overtime periods without scoring. The Cardinal finally earned the victory when a second successful penalty shot by Johanes Maliza went unanswered by the Pilots. In the third round, Stanford held off a feisty Furman team for a 2-1 double overtime victory when Chad Marshall scored on an assist by Todd Dunivant on a corner kick. Stanford then scored a pair of first half goals in a 2-0 victory over Clemson in the NCAA quarterfinals to reach the College Cup for the second straight season. The Cardinal claimed a 2-1 overtime victory over Creighton in the national semifinals when Marshall came through again in the clutch, heading in a center serve from Mike Wilson. UCLA finally ended Stanford's run for its first national title in the national championship game when Aaron Lopez found the back of the net with just 1:02 remaining in regulation to snap a scoreless tie.
Stanford started the regular season with a 7-0-0 record (the third-best start in school history) by beating Sacramento State, SMU, Portland, Denver, Saint Mary's, Richmond and Dartmouth. Tulsa would hand Stanford its first loss in the opening round of the Stanford/Nike Invitational, before the Cardinal ran off four more victories over Santa Clara, San Jose State, Washington and Oregon State to improve to 11-1-0. Stanford spent six of the first seven weeks on top of the NSCAA rankings and dominated opponents through its first 12 games, scoring 32 goals and allowing only eight.
Stanford then began its most difficult stretch of the season (an 0-2-2 record over four games) with a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss at UCLA. Stanford then managed just a scoreless tie at Fresno State later in the same road trip. The Cardinal's woes continued the following week when the team lost 1-0 at California and played the Golden Bears to a scoreless tie, falling to 2-2-2 after its first six Pac-10 matches. The Cardinal would recover by winning three of its final four conference games with only another 1-0 loss to UCLA sandwiched between a home victory over Fresno State and a sweep at Oregon State and Washington to conclude the regular season. The Cardinal finished 5-3-2 in Pac-10 action and placed third in the conference standings.
The All-American recognition bestowed upon the senior trio of Todd Dunivant, Roger Levesque and Johanes Maliza highlighted the many honors earned by Stanford players in 2002. Taylor Graham also earned Honorable Mention All-American honors, while joining Dunivant and Levesque on the NSCAA's Far West Region team. Graham, Levesque and Maliza also earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors, while Dunivant and Chad Marshall were Second Team choices. Darren Fernandez, Robby Fulton and James Twellman earned Honorable Mention conference recognition. Levesque (Soccer America Team MVP) and Marshall (Soccer America Freshman Player of the Year) both added top-notch individual honors. Dunivant, Fulton, Abe Geiger, Graham, Aaron Maines, Maliza, Andrew Terris, James Twellman and Mike Wilson earned an assortment of academic honors.
Robby Fulton led Stanford's 2002 entries in the Cardinal record book by breaking the school's single-season record with an 0.43 goals against average. Fulton also recorded nine shutouts and Roger Levesque had 13 assists as both ranked tied for fifth on Stanford's all-time single-season lists.
Levesque finished his collegiate career among Stanford's all-time leaders in points (88, #6), goals (29, #6T) and games played (76, #10). Todd Dunivant finished his Stanford career ranked tied for fourth in assists (28), fifth in games played (81) and tenth in games started (63). Johanes Maliza finished his career sixth with 79 points, while Fulton currently ranks ninth among Stanford's all-time save leaders with 62.