Stanford Gives Back

Oct. 12, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford freshman Clayton Holz volleyed in a cross from Michael Alexander in the 75th minute to give the Cardinal a 2-1 victory over visiting UCLA in Pac-10 men's soccer action Sunday.

It was the first collegiate goal for the reserve midfielder and it allowed Stanford (3-6-2, 1-2-1) to snap a six-match winless streak. Stanford was 0-5-1 during the stretch, but each loss was by one goal scored late in the second half to break a tie.

'They were down,' Stanford coach Bret Simon said of his team's state after its latest close loss, 1-0 to San Diego State on Friday. 'But we have guys with very professional outlooks in how they play, and will work hard for each other.'

Sophomore Shaun Culver headed in a long throw in by Ryan Thomas to open the scoring, in the 20th minute, giving Stanford its first lead in seven games. But Prince Lapnet drew the Bruins even in the 29th minute on a rebound of his own blocked shot.

For Culver, his goal was a tangible sign of the progress he has made after a rough start to the season, which included an own goal in a 2-0 loss to SMU in the second match.

Despite starting the first two contests, Culver played only briefly in one of the next seven as he wrestled with his confidence.

'I was struggling,' Culver said. 'It was more mental than anything on the field.'

But Simon knew it was time to put Culver back in the lineup when the defender came up to the coach recently and said, 'I'm tired of feeling sorry for myself. I'm ready.'

Culver, who stands 6-foot-2, has been solid in alongside senior Ryan Imamura in the central defense and the two have moved upfield on set pieces as targets in the air. Culver had two shots in the match and scored his first goal this season.

After UCLA tied it up, Stanford went into an attack and ball-possession mode. Central midfielder Cameron Lamming was a catalyst in the Cardinal's push, acting as the link to several opportunities.

'It's not easy to bounce back during a long winless streak,' Lamming said. 'But we just said, `Let's go out and have fun.' And we had a lot of fun today.'

The Cardinal was rewarded on Holz's goal. He had entered play 11 minutes earlier and had failed to get into proper position to take advantage of a cross from the left by Ryan Thomas. Fortunately for Stanford, the ball went untouched across the field and was sent back in from the right corner by Alexander.

And Holz was there.

'I just wanted to get across their goal,' Holz said. 'I wasn't able to get to the first post on Ryan's cross, but I did on the second ball and was fortunate enough to get in front of their defender.'

Holz was ecstatic about his first goal, 'but more for the team to get a win,' he said. 'I couldn't think of a better time for it to come.'

Starting at left defensive back was fifth-year senior Enrique Allen, out of Hayward. It was his first action of the season and first start since 2006, and provided a solid performance.

'He's someone the team really respects and likes, and he always plays hard, with great effort, and is physical,' Simon said. 'He always gives his best, whether he plays or not, and we felt he deserved an opportunity.'

Though UCLA (3-4-5, 1-1-1) holds a 34-4-7 series lead, Stanford is undefeated (2-0-3) in their past five meetings, and now heads into the Big Match with Cal, at Cagan Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. The victory seemed even more significant considering UCLA was coming off a 3-2 victory Friday over a Cal team ranked No. 6 in the nation by the NSCAA.

And, for Stanford, the fact that both goals were the first of the year for those players was a good sign, Simon said, in the team's quest for a conference title.

'Everybody's going to have to contribute,' he said.

Stanford 2, UCLA 1

UCLA 1 0 - 1

Stanford 1 1 - 2

Stanford - Culver (Thomas), 20th; Holz (Alexander), 75th.

UCLA - Lapnet (unassisted), 29th.

Records - Stanford 3-6-2, 1-2-1; UCLA 3-4-5, 1-1-1.

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