Defense Holds Strong in Stanford Win

Sept. 14, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - Bobby Warshaw's second-half goal stood up for Stanford, which earned a 1-0 victory over host USF in a nonconference men's soccer match Sunday night.

Warshaw first-timed a short centering pass from T.J. Novak with his right foot inside the near post in the 54th minute. It was the second goal of the season for the sophomore.

The goal was set up by midfielders Michael Strickland, who played the ball forward, and Thiago Sa Freire, who made a dummy run that fooled the defense, allowing the ball to reach Novak.

Novak, a senior, was one of several Stanford players to take on new roles in the match, starting at forward for the first time since his freshman year. Coach Bret Simon wanted to see what problems Novak, who has played midfield and defense, could create with his speed.

On the backline, sophomore Kevin Huang and freshman Tommy Ryan made their first collegiate starts, with Simon looking to take advantage of their ball-winning ability against a USF team (0-4) that would be fired up in its home opener.

'Everybody fought hard and together,' Simon said. 'It was a good confidence-builder. The focus was good for the full 90 minutes. That's something we've been building toward.'

Stanford prepared for Negoesco Stadium's artificial turf by training at the Mayfield Park turf fields in Palo Alto. That may have contributed to Stanford's ability to adapt to the quick pace.

The pitch played right into the style of the quick Sa Freire, who had a strong match at midfield.

'Everybody was fighting for everybody today,' Sa Freire said. 'It was a good team win.'

The victory was the second consecutive for Stanford (2-1-1), which gathers momentum heading into a showdown with visiting Creighton, ranked No. 2 by Soccer America and No. 3 by the NSCAA, on Friday (8 p.m.) in match to be televised nationally by Fox Soccer Channel.

Junior goalkeeper John Moore earned his second consecutive shutout and extended his scoreless streak to 266 minutes. Much help came from the play of senior defenders Ryan Imamura and Tim Jones, who was making his 50th consecutive start.

Moore made four saves, and made the defensively play of the match by swiping the ball away from the feet of a USF player on a rebounded shot during a scramble in front of the net in the 58th minute.

He earlier made a diving save of a point-blank shot at the near post.

Stanford ended its streak of three consecutive losses to USF, and earned its first victory over the Dons since 2001. The match was part of the four-team Bay Area Classic. Stanford plays Santa Clara in their next match of the tournament, on Sept. 27.

Stanford 1, USF 0

Stanford 0 1 - 1

USF 0 0 - 0

Stanford: Warshaw (Novak), 54th minute.

Records: Stanford 2-1-1, USF 0-4.

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