Stanford edges Akron on penalties to make first title game since 2002
It took 110 minutes of scoreless soccer and 10 rounds of penalty kicks to finally decide who would play Clemson for the 2015 national championship.
In the end, Stanford goalkeeper Andrew Epstein made the save to send the Cardinal through to their first national title game in a semifinal bout with Akron Friday night that felt like it might never end.
The penalty shootout marked the first time both semifinals ended in PKs since 2011 but the first time both games ended as scoreless draws. All told, the small crowd at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, saw 220 minutes of scoreless soccer and 14 rounds of penalty kicks.
Like the first semifinal, the game wasn’t without chances. Akron goalkeeper Jake Fenlason twice denied Foster Langsdorf, the first time in the 32nd minute on a breakaway and again off a cross from left back Brandon Vincent in the first minute of overtime. Fenlason’s counterpart made a game-saving save of his own in the latter stages of overtime on a Richie Laryea break.
Fenlason finished the game with six saves and Epstein with two.
Stanford will seek their first ever national championship in the program’s third final Sunday at 2 p.m. against Clemson, which won it all in 1987 and 1984.