STANFORD, Calif. – An unmatched stretch of offensive firepower powered No. 4 Stanford men's soccer to a 4-0 season-opening victory over Pacific, Friday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium at Maloney Field. The Cardinal had three different goal scorers on the night – the team's first game in 427 days.
"In your first game out after such a long time, you're always a little bit cagier," said The Knowles Family Director of Men's Soccer Jeremy Gunn. "I felt the most important thing today wasn't that we made massive changes (at halftime), it was that we stuck to the task. We did not get frustrated and the players kept the belief moving forward.
"As coaches we've all been frustrated because we've been missing what we love to do," Gunn said of the long layover. "I feel for the players because they're only here for a short time. It was so exciting to see them do what they came here to do."
Despite the scoreless deadlock at halftime, the Cardinal controlled the first half firing off six shots in the first 45 minutes. The attack would break through early in the second half, as Stanford scored four goals over a 21:39 stretch (56:56-78:17).
In the 57th minute, sophomore Gabe Segal was taken just outside the penalty box, setting up a free kick from 25 yards out. Segal, Stanford's leading goal scorer in 2019, took the free kick himself and buried the shot into the upper left corner of the goal to break the stalemate. The strike was Segal's seventh career goal.
Charlie placed the cross, Will connected for the volley.
— Stanford Men's Soccer (@StanfordMSoccer) February 13, 2021
The Cardinal would add to its lead in the 69th minute with Will Richmond scoring from inside the box. Pushing down the right sideline, Charlie Wehan placed a cross to Richmond just off the far post, who volleyed the ball off his left foot to the opposite side of the goal on his lone shot of the match.
The midfielder now has three career goals.
Stanford added to its lead off a penalty kick by Zach Ryan in the 78th and a masterful attack resulting in a score by Ryan Ludwick from Keegan Tingey and Jack O'Brien just 51 seconds later. The Cardinal controlled the attack with 18 shots to Pacific's two – while also leading in corner kicks by a 9-0 margin. Segal and Ryan ended the night with five and four shots, respectively.
The Cardinal will conclude its season-opening homestand on Monday against San Francisco. Kickoff from Cagan Stadium is set for 5 p.m. as Stanford looks to open the season on a winning streak for the second-straight campaign.