Nov. 23, 2009

Courtesy of Stanford Athletics

Irvine, Calif. - The Stanford men will march on after a thrilling 1-0 win at UC Irvine on Sunday night. A first half Daniel Leon goal held up and the Cardinal will advance to the Sweet 16 to face No.1 and undefeated Akron.

"This is a great win because UC Irvine has a teriffic team this year," said head coach Bret Simon. "They gave us everything we could handle, but we were able to hang on. A lot of our guys played tremendously tonight."

Playing in its first tournament since 2002, the Cardinal have not been overwhelmed, improving to 2-0 with a pair of shutouts in the 2009 version.

Facing the No. 16 seeded Anteaters on the road, Stanford used an early goal and its typical outstanding defense to move on.

Leon's goal came in the 36th minute on a blast from 25 yards from the left side just inside the right post. It was the third goal of season for Leon and his first game winner.

"He could not have hit it any better," said Simon. " It was a perfect shot into the upper 90 and it needed to be, because their goalkeeper was right there."

The Cardinal and Anteaters played a fairly even first half with both teams having some opportunities. UC Irvine outshot Stanford 5-4, but John Moore was the difference, making three of his five saves in the period.

Adam Jahn, Garrett Gunther and Evan Morgan each had opportunities, but their shots missed the frame.

UC Irvine stepped up its attack in the second half, outshooting Stanford 6-2, but the Cardinal defense would not break, recording its ninth shutout of the year.

The backline of Shaun Culver, Hunter Gorskie, Ryan Thomas and Bobby Warshaw continued its tremendous play as the backbone of the Cardinal squad. Stanford has now given up just 16 goals in 19 games for a goals against average of 0.84.

The Cardinal will now move on to face No. 1 Akron, who is a perfect 21-0-0 on the season. The high scoring Zips versus the Stanford defense sets up to be an outstanding showdown.

Stanford and Akron will meet each other next Sunday, Nov. 29, in Akron. The winner will face the winner of Tulsa and Northwestern for a spot in the Final Four.