The Stanford Cardinal heads to Philadelphia and Talen Energy Stadium for the 2017 College Cup, an achievement the team has gotten fairly familiar with during the past three seasons.
Stanford's trip to the College Cup is their third consecutive such trip. In their previous two trips, Stanford has hoisted the College Cup trophy.
However, this installment comes with the lowest seeding of the three trips. In 2015, the Cardinal was ranked No. 8, and improved that to a No. 5 seed in 2016. This year, the team was a No. 9 seed.
In terms of the tournament so far though, Stanford's run is very similar to their first title in 2015. Stanford received a first-round bye for being a seeded team, then easily won their second-round match. Stanford didn't have any issues disposing of their third round opponent each season, and then in the quarterfinals, there was the No. 1 ranked Wake Forest. Stanford defeated Wake Forest 2-1 in OT in 2015, and in 2017, managed to keep the shutout to cruise to the College Cup semifinals.
Just like 2015, the 2017 version of the Cardinal will have to face off with Akron to make the College Cup Finals. In 2015, Stanford advanced against Akron by winning penalty kicks 8-7 after a scoreless 120 minutes.
Stanford has been able to excel in 2017 thanks to all-around solid play. In terms of offense, the Cardinal is led by Foster Langsdorf, who has 32 points (13 goals, six assists) in 21 games played. Including Langsdorf, Stanford has seven players who have double-digit point totals, six of which have played in all 21 games. The Cardinal's 45 goals were the most in the Pac-12 this season, and Langsdorf led all Pac-12 players in goals and points.
As impressive as their offense has been, their defense has been as equally outstanding. Stanford has only allowed nine goals in 21 games, recording 12 shutouts throughout the season. All of those shutouts have been recorded by Nico Corti, who has played all but 23 minutes of Stanford's season.
Winning the College Cup once is difficult, winning it twice is even more so, and trying for a third time is an incredible feat. Stanford is a team that is geared up and ready to attack the challenge, and at Talen Energy Stadium, could become just the second team in history to win it three years in a row.
Tickets for the College Cup semifinals and finals are on sale now.