Palo Alto, Calif. – The Pacific men's soccer team capped off their 2016 campaign with a 2-0 loss to the No.5 Stanford Cardinal in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night. The loss brings the Tigers to 13-4-2 on the year while the victory propels the Cardinal to 12-3-4 overall.
Stanford came storming out of the gate, rifling off two shots and receiving two corners in the first four minutes of play. The Tiger backline did a great job denying the offensive opportunities created by the Cardinal. In the 18th minute the Tigers finally got their first offensive chance with a corner. Andres Ochoa sent the ball into the box that ricocheted around and found Anthony Orendain who attempted to net the ball in the far post but his shot sailed just wide.
In the 31st minute Stanford's leading scorer Foster Langsdorf received the dish in the box and tapped it towards the near post. Goalie Curtis Goldsmith got a good jump on the ball and made a leaping save to his left to keep it scoreless. However in the 37th the Cardinal finally broke through as Langsdorf took the ball into box with just the 'keeper to beat and was able to boot it in for the 1-0 lead. In the closing minute of the half the Orange and Black received another corner opportunity as Alfredo Alcala sent the ball in which found Christian Aldama but his shot was blocked by the Cardinal defender.
In the second half the Tiger defense continued to fend off the Cardinal attack to keep the game within reach. In the 63rd Tristan Blackmon drew a foul near the left sideline. Ochoa took the free kick and sent a bullet to the far corner but goalie Andrew Epstein leaped to his left and made a great save, his first of the night. In the 70th minute the Cardinal widened their lead on a header off a corner to make it 2-0, which held till the final whistle.
Goldsmith registered six saves (one short of his career-high) on 22 total shots faced, which was the most the Tigers have allowed this season.
Following their 1-15-1 record last year, the Tiger's turnaround this season is one for the record books. Their 11.5 win-loss improvement is tied with two other teams for the best turnaround in NCAA history. Of these three teams, Pacific was the only one to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament (San Jose St. made the NCAA Tournament in 2000 but lost in the first round).
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