It has been a relatively quiet 71 years of Bear-Cardinal competition that have passed between the origin of the college rivalry in 1911, as the Stanford Cardinal lead Cal in the all-time football series record 63-46-11 and currently boast an eight-year winning streak.
Last Thursday, the Cal men’s soccer team brought this legacy to a head — reminding fans that big yardage plays and touchdowns are not the only type of football that can deafen the Cardinal, defeating the reigning champions in a stunning 1-0 upset in Palo Alto.
The win reverberated throughout NCAA Pac-12 Men’s Division I soccer, as both the SDSU Aztecs and Washington Huskies upset their respective competition over the weekend.
While a postmatch presentation of the Pac-12 trophy was already scheduled for No. 6 Stanford, which had already clinched a share of its fifth consecutive Pac-12 championship, the ceremony was met with a deafening silence as the Cardinal were still reeling from an 85th-minute strike by freshman defender J.J. Foe Nuphaus, directing the Bears to their first win over Stanford in five years.
Senior midfielder Sam Ebstein warrants recognition for the offensive impetus that culminated in Nuphaus’s goal. His 84th-minute strike commanded Stanford goalie Andrew Thomas to parry the ball over the net in midflight — setting up the left-footed corner kick for fellow senior Sam Junqua.
Junqua’s wide kick was placed perfectly in the center of the crowded box, allowing Nuphaus to sneak behind two Cardinal defenders for a diving header, driving the ball to the top of the near post.
Nuphaus’ goal came amid a season plagued by disheartening losses and within a game that seemed to troublesomely reflect the characteristics of those losses — a trapped Shinya Kadono frustrated by the ball being bounced around in the midfield by short, untimely passes, unaided by a winding down stop-clock.
Yet the Bears held off the Cardinal, anchored by goalkeepers Noah Texter and Drake Callender, who combined to force Cal’s fifth shutout of the year. Texter started for the Bears and made two saves within the first 20 minutes, shutting down the consistent threat imposed by the Cardinal duo of Marc Joshua and team captain Tanner Beason.
Callender returned in the second half, recording an additional two saves in goal. His shining moment came in the 76th minute, when Callender stopped Derek Waldeck’s long drive in full flight.
The stability in the Bears’ defensive third was coupled by strong offensive opportunities. In the 22nd minute, Christopher Grey’s signature sideline drive set up Jonathan Estrada at the top of the box, forcing Thomas to make a notable save.
Kadono additionally found his footing throughout the game, leading the team with three shots throughout the game, including an 80th-minute header that just tipped the goal. He concludes his senior season leading the Pac-12 with 26 points, 58 shots and 12 goals.
There is a bittersweet component to the Bears’ upset victory; they end the season as a team worthy of playoff contention but will watch from the sidelines as the Cardinal continue to compete in NCAA postseason play.
On Thursday, the men’s soccer team turned the Farm into Bear Territory, and that will have to be enough for this year’s squad.
Alicia Sadowski covers men’s soccer. Contact her at email@example.com.
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