No. 21 Gauchos Downed by Stanford

Duncan Backus (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Duncan Backus (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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PALO ALTO, Calif. – Nineteenth-ranked Stanford scored a trio of goals off set pieces within the first dozen minutes to claim an eventual 4-1 win over No. 21 UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday night at Cagan Stadium.

The game was televised nationally on the Pac-12 Network.

The Cardinal's (3-1-0) offensive outburst spoiled a spectacular performance by freshman Ludwig Ahl, who opened his UCSB (1-2-1) scoring account with a 30th minute goal.

After receiving a ball from fellow freshman Ryo Fujii on the attacking side of the center cirle, Ahl perfectly manipulated a trio of defenders as he took off towards the Stanford goal. About five yards from the penalty box, he cut to his right and unleashed a cross-body shot to the keeper's right before his defender could close, finding the corner and bringing the score to 3-1.

In an almost carbon copy play, Ahl nearly scored his second in the 45th minute. Making the same run through the midfield off a Fujii set-up, the Swedish forward shot to the keeper's left, requiring a diving stop.

Stanford's Tomas Hilliard-Arce opened the game's scoring by heading to the near post off a seventh minute corner kick.

The Gauchos were the victims of a bit of bad luck on Stanford's second goal, as a UCSB defender collided with keeper Josh McNeely before banging his head onto the goal post while getting tangled up with his defender during a free kick. In the fracas, Bobby Edwards was able to tap in to double the Cardinal's lead.

Slater Meehan made it 3-0 in the 12th minute after intercepting a clearance attempt on another Stanford corner kick attempt. Brandon Vincent re-established the three-goal lead at the start of a second half with a 22-yard curler from the keeper's right to the far post.

The Gauchos were industrious in trying to get back into the game, as they outshot the Cardinal 12-6 from the 30th minute on.

UCSB will return to Harder Stadium this Friday as they host Colgate at 7:30 p.m. to open a six-match homestand. Tickets for that game are available here.