STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford’s season came to a close on Sunday night, as the Cardinal fell to No. 12 UNC Greensboro by a score of 3-1 in a penalty shootout after the match remained tied at 1-1 through regulation and two overtime periods. The Spartans advance and will host Indiana in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
“So desperately disappointed to be getting knocked out at this stage,” said The Knowles Family Director of Men’s Soccer Jeremy Gunn. “I want to congratulate Greensboro, I thought they played a great game and we wish them well as they move on in the tournament. I’d also like to thank all our fans tonight and throughout the year, they’ve been fantastic.”
The visitors started on the front foot, challenging Stanford’s defense during the first portion of the game and forcing Matt Frank to make a spectacular leaping save to prevent the opening goal in the 16th minute. UNCG would find the opener, however, scoring in the 21st minute.
Cam Cilley answered back quickly, however, knotting the match at 1-1 in the 26th minute. Strong build up through the midfield grew the attack, leading to a Keegan Tingey pass that found Cilley in space. The senior captain struck the ball perfectly, sending it to the far post well away from the keeper’s reach.
“I’m so proud of how we played, not just tonight but throughout the season,” added Gunn. “On the night, it was exactly what playoff games are like; they’re really tight and difficult to get playing.”
As the game went on, the Cardinal solidified its footing in the match, and ultimately finished with nine more shots than UNCG.
“In each half, I felt we were edging it just a little bit better, we had more possession, a few more chances here and there, and more looks on goal,” said Gunn. “So throughout the game, I felt that we believed we would find that winner, but unfortunately it wouldn’t come.”
Despite the added pressure from Stanford, there was no goal to be found after 90 minutes, resulting in two overtime periods of ten minutes. The extra time did not produce a winner either, forcing the match into penalty kicks.
The goalkeeper for UNCG saved the first three shots in the shootout, and despite Matt Frank saving the second shot for the visitors, the Spartans ultimately prevailed 3-1.
“All credit to their goalkeeper, he made three huge saves,” explained Gunn. “Great penalties by our players, just three big saves by their goalkeeper.”
Stanford concludes its season at 12-2-5. This year marked Stanford’s 20th NCAA Tournament run, including its ninth postseason in the last ten years.
“I’m so proud of the team, tonight and throughout our entire season,” said Gunn. “They’ve been an amazing group to work with, we’ve had an incredible season, and I’m just so sad that we finish a little earlier than we’d like to.”
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