- Associated Press - Saturday, December 12, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Corey Baird connected, Nate Shultz didn’t and just like that, Stanford advanced to the NCAA College Cup final.

Baird made his shot in the 10th round of penalty kicks and Shultz’s shot was stopped, allowing Stanford to outlast Akron 8-7 in penalty kicks in the NCAA College Cup semifinals on Friday night.

“Going through it when you’re in sudden death it’s, ‘Can you make a save, can you make a save?’” Stanford goalkeeper Andrew Epstein said. “I don’t really know what happened on that last one.”

After, Shultz remained inconsolably sprawled near midfield for over 5 minutes.

“I said, ‘Pick your head up. Life is full of disappointments. It’s just part of it. You think about it. You grow from it, put it in perspective,” Akron coach Jared Embick said of his conversation with Shultz after the game. “At the end, you handle it right, it’ll be a bad memory, but you’ll gain strength and character and that’s more important.”

Earlier, Clemson beat Syracuse 4-1 in penalty kicks. This was the first time in the history of the College Cup where both semifinal games were scoreless heading into penalty kicks. The last time both semifinal games went to PKs was in 2011 when North Carolina outlasted UCLA and Charlotte upset Creighton.

Less than a minute into the first overtime frame, Stanford’s Foster Langsdorf booted a shot that would have gone in, but Akron’s goalkeeper Jake Fenlason threw up his hands to deflect the ball for his fourth save of the match. Four other shots were attempted in the first overtime, but nothing went in.

There wasn’t a shot attempted by either team until the 26th minute in the first half, and Baird missed wide right on that attempt. Langsdorf had shots in both the 32nd and 34th minutes. Fenlason saved both of Langsdorf’s shots. Akron didn’t have a shot the entire first half.

Akron’s first shot of the match came in the 58th minute on an attempt from Stuart Holthusen, but it was blocked. The second half had much more striking than the first. In total, the second half resulted in 11 shots, Akron with six and Stanford with five.

Stanford squares off with Clemson in the national championship game on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. EDT.?

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