Men’s Soccer: Dons Hang Tight, Stumble Late in Overtime Loss at Stanford

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Zach Batteer netted a 97th-minute goal, and the Stanford Cardinal put their stamp on a gripping 2-1 win over the University of San Francisco on Friday night at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. It was a game that saw two teams that have had mixed success go head to head and try to claim a much-needed win. Taking control early on, Stanford (7-4-2) dictated the flow of the game as they had the majority of possession and were able to get into Don territory early and often. Stanford’s Ty Thompson lead this charge, and was able to get a large share of the touches as the offense ran through him in the first half. Thompson even initiated the offense that saw Stanford take a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute, as a feed to Stanford’s Jordan Morris created a shot attempt that was cleaned up by Batteer, his first of two goals on the game.

Even as the Cardinals were able to maintain control of possession following Batteer’s goal, all it took was a loose ball for sophomore midfielder Jesus Del Toro to tie the game in the 78th minute, putting the Cardinals on their heels and Dons in a comfortable position.

“After Jesus scored we had more possession and we were pushing to score another goal,” sophomore defender Joshua Smith said.

After that, the home crowd became increasingly nervous as the Dons (5-7-2) began to start banging on the door, pushing farther and farther into Cardinal territory. Although regulation ended with a 1-1 tie, the break in play did not seem to stifle any momentum the Dons had acquired in the last few minutes of play, and their captivating performance continued as both teams got quality looks at the goal. Stanford keeper Drew Hutchins made a spectacular save that kept the Cardinals in the game, and USF goalkeeper Chase Hauser saved a one-timer from Cardinal JJ Koval. But Stanford’s relentless attack in the second half eventually paid off, as Batteer would get his foot on the ball off of a rebound in the seventh minute of overtime, sending it into the goal to give Stanford the victory.

Friday’s game marked the end of four-game road trip that saw the Dons go 2-2, and also represented their final inter-conference game. Despite the loss, the Dons looked sharp and ready to play out the remainder of their WCC stretch, as they seemed to have rebounded from their midseason sluggish play and have picked it up on both sides of the ball.

“Since our home game against Saint Mary’s, our guys have responded terrific,” Visser told USFDons.com. “They played well, organized, created some good opportunities late in the game. We told the guys, ‘Let’s get back to the basics and compete.’”

With 6 games remaining, beginning with their Nov. 3 matchup at home against San Diego, the Dons will soon be able to see how far they’ve come.

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