Wehan Wins It
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Dominating possession, but without a goal to show for it in 90 minutes of regulation.
Stanford, the No. 4 overall seed, knew all it needed was one bit of quality soccer, from start to finish, and Charlie Wehan delivered. Just 48 seconds into overtime, the senior took a ball that was intercepted by the Cardinal defense and given to Zach Ryan, fed it to Gabe Segal, and ran to goal for the finishing touch, giving Stanford the 1-0 victory over Omaha on Sunday afternoon.
The win improves Stanford to 10-2-1 on the year and is the sixth straight second round win for the Cardinal, who has now advanced in 15 straight postseason matches when going into overtime. Stanford moves on to play 16th-ranked North Carolina in the third round on Thursday, May 6 in Cary, N.C. at 3 p.m PT.
"Overall, I thought we played really well throughout, we were just lacking the quality finish at the end of what was a lot of good soccer," said The Knowles Family Director of Men's Soccer Jeremy Gunn. "All credit to Omaha, as they managed to defend very, very deep and had great numbers in the box, reducing us to long crosses and chances in which we were surrounded by defenders."
Stanford wasted no time setting the tone of the match, applying loads of pressure early on and putting Omaha on its heels to start the game. Stanford earned four corner kicks in the first 25 minutes, and notched its first shot on goal on a strike from Will Richmond in the 22nd minute.
Seeking momentum on the counter attack, Omaha had a dangerous chance two thirds into the opening period, but the Cardinal defense showed its resolve in clearing the shot off the goal line.
"On the other end, I'm really pleased in how we defended, reducing them to very few chances throughout the game, which is really exciting," said Gunn.
Stanford held a 7-2 advantage in shots after the first half, and that would only swell as the match progressed. Richmond continued to probe the Mavericks' back line, peppering in three shots within the span of two minutes, but Omaha would only bend, not break.
The Cardinal earned several free kick opportunities on the edge of the box, including a shot from Segal that grazed off the crossbar. Eventually, Stanford outshot Omaha 24-2 at the end of regulation, holding the Mavericks without an opportunity at the goal the entirety of the second half.
"Heading into overtime, we discussed not waiting for penalties, needing to keep pressing, keep pushing," said Gunn. "What resulted was a fantastic goal, started by an intercepted pass and featuring lovely interchanging before a beautiful finish by Charlie. We kept going, we didn't relent, and at the end, we really deserved the result."
Stanford is now 3-0-1 in overtime games this season.
"As always, a huge thank you goes out to everybody involved with the tournament and for UNC Greensboro for hosting today's games, along with much gratitude to everyone back home at Stanford, all of the support staff, for everything they've been doing that's got us to this point and allowed us to play. We do not take this opportunity for granted."