Three-Time Defending NCAA Men’s Soccer Champion Stanford to face Akron for College Cup Bid
CARDINAL SETS SIGHTS ON COLLEGE CUP: Three time defending NCAA champion STANFORD has advanced as the Pac-12’s entrant in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship quarterfinals where it will contend for the program’s seventh College Cup berth against Akron on Friday, Nov. 30. The No. 9 seeded Cardinal continued its postseason journey after defeating No. 8 seed Saint Mary’s (Calif.) in penalty kicks, 4-2, following a scoreless draw for its 14th consecutive NCAA postseason shutout.
Stanford (12-3-5) will host its first NCAA quarterfinal match since 2002 when it welcomes Akron (13-6-2), which upset top-seeded Wake Forest, 1-0, to Cagan Stadium. Stanford has defeated Akron twice in the NCAA Tournament, with both wins coming in the semifinal round, including a 2-0 victory last season and an 8-7 penalty shootout in 2015. Stanford boasts the second-best win percentage in NCAA Tournament history at .684 (29-12-6) trailing only Indiana’s .726 (89-32-6). Akron holds a .533 win percentage (27-23-9) in the tournament and has made five College Cup appearances over its 29 postseason berths.
With a victory, Stanford would advance to the College Cup for a semifinal matchup against the winner of James Madison and Michigan State, two opponents the Cardinal’s program has not played previously. The other four teams still in contention include No. 2 seed Indiana, No. 3 Kentucky, No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 11 Maryland. Three of the remaining teams, with the exception of Kentucky, have won at least one national title. Stanford has postseason history with two teams on the opposite side of the bracket, defeating Indiana in the 2017 NCAA Championship game and Maryland in the 1998 semifinals, and a loss to the Hoosiers in the 1998 title match.
The Cardinal are seeking to become only the second program in NCAA history to capture four-straight national titles (Virginia 1991-95). Stanford has reached the championship match in five of its six previous College Cup berths and is coming off its third-straight NCAA title (2015-17). Stanford has the opportunity to tie UCLA (1985, ‘90, ‘97, ‘02) for the most national titles by a current Pac-12 program. Stanford’s sixth consecutive postseason berth ties its longest run of NCAA appearances in school history (1997-2002) and marks its 17th all-time appearance.
Goalkeeper Andrew Thomas proved to be the difference maker in the team’s third-round victory as Stanford knocked off an undefeated Saint Mary’s squad in penalties. Thomas came up huge in the team’s shootout, tipping the Gaels’ first attempt off the post to gain a 1-0 advantage. Stanford’s four takers- Adam Mosharrafa, Arda Bulut, Tanner Beason, Derek Waldeck- all then calmly buried their attempts before SMC banged its fourth attempt off the crossbar. Thomas recorded a career-high 11 saves for his 11th shutout this season, which ties for the sixth-most in Stanford single-season history, and lowered his goals-against average to 0.51 which would rank fourth on the school’s all-time list. Thomas (0.00) is on his way to tie fellow Stanford alums Nico Corti (2015-17) and Andrew Epstein (2014-16) for the NCAA record lowest career goals-against average in the tournament at 0.00 and 0.34, respectively.
MAC HERMANN SEMIFINALIST: Stanford’s Tanner Beason was named one of 15 semifinalists for the 2018 MAC Hermann Trophy. The redshirt junior was voted both the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, the first player in Conference history to earn both honors, after leading the Pac-12 in both goals (6) and points (15) in league matches. Three finalists will be named in mid-December and this year’s trophy presentation is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 4, following a vote of NCAA Division I coaches.
The Missouri Athletic Club’s (MAC) Hermann Trophy is the most prestigious individual award in college soccer, presented annually to one male and one female athlete by United Soccer Coaches.
PAC-12 IN THE POSTSEASON: The Pac-12 currently holds an all-time record of 134-103-14 (.560) in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament. At least two Pac-12 teams have earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament in all but one season dating back to 1997, with 2011 the lone exception. Only seven programs in NCAA history have recorded at least three national titles, UCLA and Stanford are tied for fourth and sixth-most titles, respectively.
This season marked the seventh time since the Conference’s formation in 2000 that four teams qualified for NCAA play, including the fourth time in the past six seasons. Pac-12 programs have captured seven national championships composed of Stanford’s current streak of three titles (2015, 2016, 2017) and UCLA’s four previous national crowns (1985, 1990, 1997, 2002). In addition, the Conference has tallied eight runner-up finishes with the last one coming in 2014 when UCLA advanced to the Championship match for the fifth time in program history. In that same season, five league teams earned berths to the tournament for the most selections in Conference history.
NCAA TOURNAMENT RECAP: Four Pac-12 men’s soccer teams earned bids to the 2018 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship with three programs earning hosting privileges for their first match of the tournament. Three-time defending NCAA Champion Stanford was joined in the field by first-round hosts OREGON STATE and WASHINGTON as well as UCLA.
Oregon State made its fourth NCAA appearance all-time and opened the first round of the tournament with a 2-1 victory over SMU, which marked its second postseason victory in program history, the other coming in 2014. The Beavers subsequently dropped a 1-0 decision to unbeaten Saint Mary’s to finish the year with an 11-6-3 overall record, tied for the fifth-most wins in program history and second most since 2014 (12-8-1) during its last NCAA berth. Pac-12 Coach of the Year Terry Boss led OSU to its best win percentage since 2003 (13-7-0) in his first season with the Beavers.
Washington (12-7-1, 6-4-0) reached its sixth postseason in the last seven years after closing its regular season in third place in the league standings. The Huskies’ season came to a close falling to Lipscomb in penalty kicks (5-4) following a scoreless draw. Head Coach Jamie Clark has led the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament six times in his eight years at the helm, with UW advancing to at least the third round on three occasions in that span.
UCLA (10-9-0, 5-5-0) earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for its Conference-leading 45th all-time appearance. The Bruins traveled to Portland for the first round and concluded the season with 1-0 loss. UCLA holds the most Division I wins in NCAA history with 979 total victories and ranks second all-time by win percentage (.760).
PAC-12 SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: The Pac-12 has named STANFORD redshirt senior Adam Mosharrafa the Men’s Soccer Scholar- Athlete of the Year. A computer science major from Paradise Valley, Ariz., Mosharrafa owns a 3.52 grade-point average and is a three-time Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention selection. The defender has appeared in 82 career games at Stanford and has started all but one game since 2016, while recording five career goals and tacking on five assists. Mosharrafa was one of two Pac-12 players among 30 Division I candidates selected for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award at the beginning of the season.
NATIONAL HONORS: Five Pac-12 players are featured in the top-15 of TopDrawer Soccer’s Midseason Top-100 Player Rankings, which ties the ACC for the most of any Conference in the nation. League selections include six in the top-25 -No. 5 Andrew Thomas, Stanford; No. 8 JJ Foe Nuphaus, Cal; No. 9 Frankie Amaya, UCLA; No. 12 Ethan Bartlow, Washington; No. 14 Justin Garces, UCLA; and No. 25 Ian Lonergan, Cal. A total of 11 Pac-12 players make an appearance on the list.
PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: Pac-The Pac-12 Conference announced today the men’s soccer All-Pac-12 honors for the 2018 season, as selected by a polling of the Conference coaches. Stanford’s Tanner Beason was voted Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, marking the first time a player has won both awards since the inception of the defensive award in 2014. Oregon State’s Sofiane Djeffal was tabbed Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and first-year OSU head coach Terry Boss was voted Pac-12 Coach of the Year. The All-Pac-12 teams were also announced.
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded standings)
|Teams||Points||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
|San Diego State||6||2-8-0||7-10-1|
NCAA SCHEDULE (Times PDT)
Sunday, Nov. 25
|No. 9 STANFORD at No. 8 Saint Mary's (Calif.)||
2018 PAC-12 MEN'S SOCCER PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Pac-12 Player of the Year / Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year – Tanner Beason, RS Jr., D, Stanford
Pac-12 Freshman of the Year – Sofiane Djeffal, Fr., M, Oregon State
Pac-12 Coach of the Year – Terry Boss, Oregon State
2018 All-Pac-12 Teams
MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List
Erik Holt, UCLA; Drake Callender, California
Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week
Aug. 28: Erik Holt, UCLA, Joey Parish, Washington
Sept. 4: Kolade Salaudeen, Oregon State
Sept. 11: Erik Holt, UCLA, Joey Parish, Washington, Shinya Kadono, California
Oct. 2: Hassani Dotson, Oregon State, Amir Bashti, Stanford
Oct. 9: AJ Vasquez, UCLA
Oct. 16: Adrian Fernandez, Oregon State
Oct. 22: Alex Cover, Oregon State
Oct. 30: Don Tchilao, Oregon State
Nov. 6: Tanner Beason, Stanford