STANFORD, Calif. – The Cardinal scored early and often on Sunday to defeat High Point 6-2 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Carlo Agostinelli had four goal involvements on the night, scoring his first career brace while assisting two other goals. The Cardinal advance to the third round of the tournament and will host No. 12 UNC Greensboro next Sunday, November 27 at 5 p.m.
Stanford’s six goals ties the program record for most goals in an NCAA Tournament game, matching the 2000 NCAA Second Round win over UIC,a match in which Stanford won 6-0.
“I’m really impressed by the team tonight,” said The Knowles Family Director of Men’s Soccer Jeremy Gunn. “I thought we were so sharp and we did everything that you need to do in a game.”
Stanford wasted no time in getting the scoring started, notching the opener just three minutes into the match. Shane de Flores served up a perfect cross, picking out Carlo Agostinelli in the center of the box who headed the Cardinal in front.
13 minutes later, Agostinelli found the back of the net again, this time with a service from Keegan Tingey. Connor Evans was critical in the build up as well, and less than 20 minutes into the match, Stanford was up 2-0.
“We were incisive on the ball and always probing and looking for chances to score and we absolutely smothered them defensively,” said Gunn. “In a playoff game, anything can happen; you can be tight, cagey, or nervous, but if you go at a team, ask questions, and get those great answers as we did, then that really puts you in the driver seat.”
Stanford didn’t let up after jumping out to the early lead either. in the 23rd minute, Shane de Flores scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season off a spectacular run of play from Agostinelli and Jackson Kiil.
Keegan Hughes was the next goal-scorer for Stanford, heading home a free kick from Agostinelli to make it a four goal advantage for the Cardinal. Stanford went into the break in control, with a dominant stat line of 10 shots, five corners, and four goals compared to High Point’s three shots and one corner.
“We started so brightly and never really looked back,” said Gunn. “An emphatic victory, and one where going into the game, you know you’re playing against a very good opponent and that it’s going to be a tough game. So full credit to our team tonight, and I’m very impressed with how we played.”
In the second half, High Point was able to score two goals, one coming early in the period and one coming with 20 seconds left in the match. But Stanford added two more of its own over the final 45 minutes, with a strike each for Zach Bohane and Liam Doyle.
Doyle’s goal came in the 72nd minute on a free kick just outside the penalty box. The freshman struck the ball perfectly, precisely curling it into the corner and leaving the goalkeeper no chance to save it.
Bohane’s goal in the 81st minute was the first of his career, hitting the ball sweetly with his left foot and nailing it into the far corner.
“To have another high multi-goal game is impressive because soccer is such a tough game to score goals in,” added Gunn. “We’ve been preaching all year we want to ask questions, create chances, and look to score goals, and the way the team performed with the deliveries and finishes, it was just outstanding.”
The Cardinal defense held strong throughout the night, successfully stifling the Panthers’ attack. High Point registered a total of seven shots compared to the Cardinal’s 22.
“It’s very exciting for the team and has to build confidence because we’ll be in much tighter games,” explained Gunn. “But when we’re in those tighter games, we know we are capable of scoring goals.”
Stanford returns to action in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on November 27 at 5 p.m. The Cardinal will host No. 12 UNC Greensboro in Cagan Stadium.