The magic man delivered early.

The local kid threw the haymaker.

As a result, the University of Akron men’s soccer team exacted some long overdue revenge and beat ninth-seeded Stanford 3-2 in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal on Friday in Palo Alto, Calif.

The win not only knocked out the three-time defending champion Cardinal (12-4-5), it avenged losses in the College Cup to Stanford last season and in 2015.

“For everyone, this means a lot,” Akron coach Jared Embick said. “After they beat us the last two years, I know it means a lot to the guys to get it done.”

Marcel Zajac put the Zips (14-6-2) ahead with two first-half goals.

The only problem was the three-time defending Cardinal weren’t going to go away and came roaring back with second-half goals by Tanner Beason and Zach Ryan.

That’s when Jackson graduate Colin Biros put away Stanford and lifted Akron back into the national semifinals for the third time in four seasons. The Zips will play either James Madison (15-4-3) or Michigan State (13-4-4) on Dec. 7.

Marco Micaletto sent a cross into the box from the right side on Biros’ game-winner to Zajac, who knocked it in front of the goal mouth where it found Biros’ head with 9:52 remaining.

“Easily, 100 percent this is the biggest goal of my life,” Biros said. “This has been a moment in the making for over a decade. It’s nice to say it finally happened. Honestly, I haven’t come down to earth yet, so maybe tomorrow I can give a better answer. But right now, this just encompasses what we’ve been working toward all year.”

Embick might still be up in the clouds with his freshman midfielder as well.

“He’s a local kid that we’ve known since he was 12 or 13,” Embick said. “We’ve been watching him play. We knew once the game got tied 2-2, we needed his composure and skill. Maybe I should have done it earlier, but we felt if we got him in there, he’d find a way to get the win.”

After knocking off top-seeded Wake Forest, which has the most wins in the last four seasons, and then doubling it up with a win over Stanford, which has the second-most wins during that span, the Zips are feeling incredible.

The confidence showed early and then again late after the Cardinal tied things up.

Many teams in that situation would fold, but not Akron, which is on an eight-game winning streak and ready for more.

Zajac got things done in the first half with his foot. His head proved to be the difference on the assist, and Zajac has now scored in nine of his last 10 games.

“This is the Marcel that we thought we’d have,” Embick said. “It took him a little bit to get his rhythm and confidence. I just keep encouraging him now to show people what he can do.”

James Madison plays Michigan State at 1 p.m. Saturday with the winner facing the red-hot Zips in a national semifinal at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The Zips haven’t played James Madison this season, but beat Michigan State 2-1 on Oct. 9.

“You have to play well now,” Embick said. “There’s no weak teams out there. The teams have fought their way through. They have toughness. They have an identity at this stage.”