December 11, 2016
Stanford Cardinal men take PK decision in NCAA final
HOUSTON -- The Stanford Cardinal won its second successive NCAA Men’s Championship, taking a penalty kicks victory over Wake Forest after the teams played to a 0-0 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium Sunday.
Stanford (14-3-6) became the first repeat winner since Indiana (2003 and ’04) in taking its second title in program history.
Andrew Epstein made key saves as the Cardinal earned its fifth successive shutout and improved its NCAA tournament shutout streak to 732 consecutive minutes over two seasons. Stanford became the first champion to go scoreless in the College Cup and third to become champion without surrendering a goal in the tournament.
Stanford, which defeated North Carolina in a 10-round shootout in the semifinals, was on the verge of defeat against Wake Forest (19-2-4), which entered the match with a 13-match unbeaten streak, before Epstein stopped a Hayden Partain shot in the fifth round of penalties. Sam Werner then gave Stanford a 5-4 PK advantage and Epstein blocked Brad Dunwell’s attempt, ending the contest.
The Cardinal won the toss and chose to shoot first in penalties. Tanner Beason, Foster Langsdorf and Adam Mosharrafa converted Stanford's first three shots, matched by Wake Forest’s Ian Harkes, Jacori Hayes and Bruno Lapa. Tomas Hilliard-Arce shot high in the fourth round, and Jon Bakero gave Wake Forest a 4-3 edge. With rain starting, Corey Baird equalized with a shot up the middle for the Cardinal. Epstein then made a diving save on Partain, Werner broke the deadlock, and Epstein dove to stop Dunwell’s shot.
Stanford, which won the title, 4-0, over Clemson as Jordan Morris scored twice last year, nearly broke through on a free kick in the 71st minute. Drew Skundrich’s closer-range deflected right-footer bounced off Andreu Cases Mundet, who grabbed the shot lying on the goalline, most of his body inside the goal, a teammate on top of him. A televised replay, believed to be used for the first time in the College Cup, was deemed inconclusive, play resumed.
In the 78th minute, Mundet made a left-hand diving save near the post on an Adrian Alabi header off a Derek Waldeck pass. In the 101st minute, Amir Bashti’s first-timer at the near post off a Bryce Marion centering pass was blocked by Mundet.