Stanford scores 3 early goals, buries Gauchos, 4-1

UCSB’s young soccer team learned a hard lesson Tuesday night at Stanford. That lesson was you better show up ready to play.

Nineteenth-ranked Stanford jumped on the Gauchos for three goals in the opening 12 minutes of the match and went on to a 4-1 win.

The Gauchos (1-1-2) got a goal on a superb individual effort by Ludwig Ahl in the second half to avoid the shutout.

It was a nightmarish start by the Gauchos. They were overwhelmed by Stanford’s pressure and fell behind in the seventh minute. An unmarked Tomas Hilliard-Arce slammed home an Austin Meyer corner kick with his head for the first goal.

Three minutes later, the Gaucho defense lost track of Cardinal players in the box on a long corner kick from Meyer and goalkeeper Josh McNeely coughed up the ball at the far post as he was knocked down by one of his own defenders. Eric Verso hit a short cross to a wide open Bobby Edward, who tapped it into the open net for a 2-0 lead.

Stanford (3-1-0) struck for its third goal in the 12th minute on another Meyer corner kick. On this one, the ball was headed out by the Gauchos but it went right to Slater Meehan at the top of the 18-yard box. He settled the ball and beat McNeely and a Gaucho defender at the right post.

The stunned Gauchos finally found a rhythm and made a game of it for the rest of the first half. They got a little momentum on a brilliant goal by freshman Ludwig Ahl in the 30th minute. He got the ball in space, dribbled past three defenders at the top of the box and beat Stanford’s goalkeeper with a right-footed shot from 20 yards just inside the far post.

Ahl nearly scored a second in the 45th minute. Making the same run through the midfield off a Rio Fujii set-up. The Swedish forward shot to the left of Cardinal goalkeeper Andrew Epstein, requiring him to make diving stop.

A 3-1 deficit didn’t seem so bad considering how badly UCSB started the match.

But Stanford regained the upper hand with its fourth goal three minutes into the second half. Brandon Vincent took advantage of soft defensive pressure and blasted a shot past McNeely to the far post.

UCSB freshman Axel Mendez had a good chance to cut the lead in half late in the game with blistering half volley, but Epstein denied Mendez with a diving save.

The Gauchos return home on Friday to play Colgate.