Card Wins Conference Opener
BERKELEY, Calif. - No. 4 Stanford used an early lead, followed by two strikes from Zach Ryan in the second half, to begin Pac-12 play with a victory, earning a 3-1 win over Cal on Saturday night.
The Cardinal has now won seven straight matches in Berkeley and is 1-0 in conference play for the seventh year in a row. The win was Jeremy Gunn's 300th career victory as a head coach.
"This is a phenomenal way to start the conference season, by beating our cross-bay rival Cal," said Knowles Family Director of Men's Soccer Jeremy Gunn. "It was a very interesting game, going back and forth in different ways with our consistent pressure on the ball, matched with Cal's dangerous counter attack."
Stanford was strong in the opening half of play, dominating chances and commanding possession of the ball. The Cardinal broke through on a free kick from Gabe Segal in the 36th minute, the sophomore's second goal of the season.
After the two teams broke for halftime, the Golden Bears equalized on a goal right after the break, but it wouldn't be too long before Stanford recaptured its early momentum.
"We went from being in a really strong position, to being in a dog fight where it was very even. Our team got tested, was in a tough situation, and I was really impressed with our reponse," added Gunn.
The Cardinal would go ahead 2-1 in the 65th minute on a strike from Ryan, who collected a ball from Segal originally fed by Mark Fisher. Stanford didn't settle for two, however, adding a third on a header flicked into the back of the net by Ryan off a free kick from Carlo Agostinelli.
"All in all, we're very excited about the beginning of this season and the start of conference play. It's just awesome for the team to be out there competing," Gunn finished.
Stanford returns to action next weekend, visiting San Diego State on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.