Stanford goalkeeper Andrew Thomas made two saves — including one on the final shot — in a shootout round as the Cardinal advanced to the men’s College Cup for the seventh time with a win over host Clemson on Friday night.
After Stanford and Clemson (18-2-2) played to a 1-1 draw through regulation and overtime, the Cardinal got goals from Derek Waldeck, Arda Bulut, Tanner Beason and Logan Panchot in the first five rounds of the shootout. Marc Joshua then struck in the sixth round to give Stanford a 5-4 edge in the penalty-kicks session before Thomas dove to his right to turn aside a shot by Clemson’s Felipe Fernandez to clinch the victory.
“The boys remain composed and took so many good penalties,” Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. “We held our nerve. Andrew did his homework and came up with some big saves. We prepare very, very diligently for penalties and confidence comes from good preparation.”
Stanford (14-2-5) will face Georgetown or Pac-12 rival Washington, who meet in a quarterfinal Saturday, in the national semifinals next Friday in Cary, N.C. The Cardinal split two matches with Washington, each school winning on the road by one goal.
The outcome at Clemson on Friday marked tje fourth time in five years the Cardinal have beaten an ACC team on the road to reach the College Cup. They won at Wake Forest in 2015 and 2017 and topped Louisville in 2016 — claiming the national championship in each of those seasons.
Stanford got on the scoreboard first Friday when, after the game’s first corner kick, Beason scored on a header in the 35th minute. Clemson’s Mohamed Seye tied it when he headed the ball just inside the post in the 69th minute.
Neither team had any serious scoring chances in the overtime sessions, which resulted in Stanford going to the penalty-kicks round for the second time in this postseason. The Cardinal opened play in the NCAA Tournament by beating Seattle as Thomas stopped four of five shots in the shootout.
For Clemson, the loss Friday meant the Tigers will again fall short of their first final four berth since they were beaten by Stanford 4-0 in the 2015 final. The Tigers last won an NCAA men’s soccer title in 1987.
“I was exceptionally proud of our team tonight,” Clemson coach Mike Noonan said. “We battled throughout the entire game and played some really good soccer.”