NCAA Division I Men: Stanford juggernaut rolls past Wake Forest for third straight year

Stanford is two wins away from accomplishing what only one other Division I men's team has ever achieved. The Cardinal defeated top-seed Wake Forest, 2-0, on the road to return to the Men's College Cup, which it won in 2015 and 2016.

Tomas Hilliard-Arce and Sam Werner scored for the Cardinal, which will attempt to become the first team to capture three straight national championships since Bruce Arena's Virginia won in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994.

Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn doesn't have a player like Arena had in Claudio Reyna on the Cavaliers' first three championship teams, but the Cardinal is one of the most experienced teams ever.

The Cardinal started eight starters from last year's team that beat Wake in a shootout in the final -- a ninth starter, Derek Waldeck, came off the bench -- and four starters from the 2015 team that Jordan Morris carried to Stanford's first men's title.

Stanford had the first chances in the 27th minute when Corey Baird, one of four starters from the 2015 and 2016 championships, hit the crossbar and Foster Langsdorf, another of the holdovers, had his shot cleared off the line by Wake defender Michael DeShields.

Ten minutes later, Stanford went ahead when Hilliard-Arce, its defensive anchor on the last two teams, scored on a header off Jared Gilbey's corner kick. In the 53rd, the Cardinal added a second goal when Werner scored on his own rebound.

Redshirt senior Nico Corti, who played all of 70 minutes in his first three seasons, came up with the game's best save when he dove to his left to bat away Ghanaian Ema Twumasi's shot headed for the far post.

The win marked the first straight year Stanford beat Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament. The 2-1 win over the Demon Deacons in the 2015 quarterfinals marked the last game it has allowed a goal in the postseason.
Saturday's shutout against Wake -- the nation's top offensive team -- extended Stanford’s NCAA-record streak of postseason shutouts to 10 and 1,022 minutes.

“It boiled down to the fact that we created so many good chances and had a complete game,”  Gunn said. “Our team was fantastic. Wake did carve out some opportunities, but on the night had more chances, better chances and we executed on those chances. Defensively we were rock solid at the back, kept the ball different spells and defended well when they had good possession.”

Dec. 2 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Stanford 2 Wake Forest 0. Goals: Hilliard-Arce (Gilbey) 37, Werner 53.
Stanford -- Corti, Beason, Hilliard-Arce, Mosharrafa, Panchot, Marion, Gilbey, Skundrich, Werner, Langsdorf, Baird. Subs: Bashti, Wehan, O'Brien, Waldeck.
Wake Forest -- Mundet, DeShields, McKenzie, Gdula, Raben, Servania, Dunwell, Echevarria, Twumasi, Argudo, Bakero. Subs: Lapa, McMaster, Fernandez.
Att.: 4,628.

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