Stanford Storms Back To Earn 2-2 Tie Against Top-Ranked UC Santa Barbara

Aug. 31, 2007

Box Score

STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford men's soccer team got its 2007 season off to a heart-pounding and memorable start Friday night, giving the top-ranked and defending national champion UC Santa Barbara Gauchos all they could handle and more in walking out of Laird Q. Cagan Stadium with a 2-2 draw.

Dan Shapiro (New Haven, CT) and Scott Bolkan (Salem, OR) netted the Cardinal's two goals, bringing Stanford back from a late 2-0 deficitin dramatic fashion. Brant Bishop (Parkville, MO) earned an assist on Bolkan's equalizer, while in net, Andrew Kartunen (San Juan Capistrano, CA) saw action in his first regular-season game since 2005 and made six saves in the match.

Stanford dominated the first half of action Friday night, out-shooting the Gauchos 9-1 and coming dangerously close to scoring on a pair of occasions. One such opportunity presented itself in the 19th minute, as a UCSB foul in the box gave the Cardinal an early penalty kick and chance to take the lead. But Michael Strickland's (Davis, CA) drive to the lower-right corner of the goal was denied by Gaucho keeper Bryant Rueckner, and the Gauchos cleared it out to preserve the scoreless tie.

But the Gauchos played up to their No. 1 ranking at the start of the second half, as it was the Cardinal that was now forced back on its heels. Nearly six and a half minutes into the second half, UCSB's Ciaran O'Brien penetrated the left edge of the box and, from a difficult angle, managed to curl a shot past Kartunen and into the top-right corner of the net for the game's opening goal. The Gauchos continued to apply the pressure, and were rewarded for their efforts 20 minutes later, as Eric Avila's centering feed was gathered by Nick Perera and blasted in from 15 yards out, giving UCSB a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 advantage.

Yet the Cardinal refused to give up. The team shook off the nerves right away and answered about seven minutes later, as Shapiro was able to get his foot on a loose ball in the box, and flicked it off the fingertips of Rueckner, who was well out of the net and could only watch helplessly as the ball two-hopped its way into the goal.

Halving the Gaucho lead galvanized the home crowd, and the Cardinal took full advantage of the surge, needing only two minutes and 10 seconds to equalize and send the fans into delirium. An attack to Rueckner's left saw Bishop streaking upfield, then firing a perfect cross into the box and finding Bolkner, whose header bounced past Rueckner for Stanford's second goal.

Stanford would get the last best chance to break the tie out fo the two squads, as Bobby Warshaw (Mechanicsburg, PA) walked in from Rueckner's left but sent a cross too high and over the heads of the Cardinal forwards in the box with less than 10 seconds to play.

The teams combined for only six shots over the two 10-minute overtime periods, with Kartunen making a pair of saves in the second extra session.

The Cardinal returns to action Friday afternoon, Sept. 7, taking on Wisconsin at the Cal adidas Legacy in Berkeley. Stanford's next home contest will be Sunday, Sept. 9, at 1:30 p.m.

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