Aug. 27, 2003
STANFORD, Calif. - Incoming head coach Paul Ratcliffe has his sights set high for Stanford women's soccer as he takes the reigns of a program that has a history of being among the top in the nation. The Cardinal will look to rebound from a 2002 season that boasted a fifth Pacific-10 Conference Championship, an undefeated conference record (9-0), a berth in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals, four All-Americans, a ranking of No. 5 in the nation in the final NSCAA/Adidas polls and a 21-2 overall record, the best mark in program history.
"The team has high expectations for this season," Ratcliffe said. "We have a great group of student -athletes who will be fueled by the energetic leadership of our seniors."
The squad returns seven starters from last season and will be on the hunt to replace standouts Kelsey Carlson, Marcia Wallis and Callie Withers. Top returnees include seniors Allyson Marquand, Natalie Spilger and Marcie Ward, redshirt junior Nicole Barnhart, and sophomores Jennifer Farenbaugh and Hayley Hunt. Barnhart, Marquand and Spilger will captain the Cardinal as the team heads into the 2003 season ranked fourth in the NSCAA/adidas preseason polls.
Stanford will face some of the top women's soccer programs in the country this season with seven scheduled opponents ranking in the top 25 and three of those in the top five in the nation in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll (No. 1 Santa Clara, tied for No. 2 Portland and No. 5 UCLA). The Cardinal have much to prove as they come up against Portland early in the season. The Pilots, eventual 2002 NCAA Champions, took the victory against Stanford in overtime penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament last year.
The Cardinal will be on the road at the Harvard and Santa Clara Tournaments in September before returning home to host the Stanford Tournament in early October. Pac-10 Conference action will start off at Arizona. Stanford stands as one-of-four Pac-10 schools ranked in the top-25 in preseason polls (No. 5 UCLA, No. 16 Cal and No. 19 USC).
Here's a look at the 2003 Cardinal squad by position:
Co-captain Nicole Barnhart will return as the team's starting goalkeeper after an outstanding 2002 inaugural season. The redshirt junior suffered an ACL injury in 2001 only to return in full force last season. She posted record-breaking figures while starting all 23 Cardinal matches for 2,047 total minutes of playing time. Barnhart ranked as the nation's top goalkeeper with a 0.18 goals against average, recorded a school-record 18 shutouts, tallied 59 saves and allowed only four goals the entire season, a Pac-10 record. Her efforts earned her All-America, All-West Region and All-Pac-10 honors.
"Nicole is a tremendous goalkeeper," Ratcliffe said. "This past summer, she was a key member of the U-21 National Team that won the Nordic Cup. "
Sophomore Elizabeth Barnard brings another dimension to the goalkeeping position. Barnard saw action in two games last season, allowing zero goals and recording one save. Newcomer Rachel Zollner enters her first season at Stanford. She comes from Colorado where she played for the 2001 national champion Colorado Rush soccer club and was a member of the Region IV Pool.
The Cardinal lost only one defender from a line that held 18 of its opponents scoreless last season. The 2002 defense allowed its opponents a mere four goals and 121 shots. Seniors Allyson Marquand, Alisan Pabon and Natalie Spilger will see significant playing time as defenders in 2003.
"This year's defense possesses great leadership and athleticism," Ratcliffe said.
Pabon was named an All-American by Soccer America and received Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors last year. Co-captain Marquand started all 23 matches in 2002, tallying two goals, three assists and 23 shots on her way to Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors. Co-captain Spilger earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 accolades last season.
Sophomores Jennifer Farenbaugh, Hayley Hunt and Lindsey Hunt will also contribute to the Cardinal defensive line. Farenbaugh, Honorable Mention All-Pac-10, ranked third on last season's squad with 18 points on seven goals and four assists. Hayley Hunt was the lone freshman and one-of-five players in 2002 to start all 23 matches. She earned All-Pac-10 honors for her performances.
Rachel Buehler will get a look as the top-incoming freshman defender. Buehler competed on the world champion U-19 National Team in 2002.
"We have a skillful group of midfielders that will add creativity to our style of play," Ratcliffe said.
Freshman Shari Summers, a member of the U-19 National and Region IV Teams, will join the Cardinal midfielders this season.
Senior Marcie Ward will continue a stellar Cardinal career as she enters her final season at Stanford. Ward has started every match of her 65-game collegiate career and already tops the Cardinal recordbooks with 38 career assists. She led the 2002 team in assists (13) and topped the charts with teammate Marcia Wallis in shots (80) and scoring (33). Ward's performance last year earned her First-Team All-Pac-10 and Second-Team West Region All-America honors.
"We have a well-balanced forward line and expect all of them to make a significant contribution," Ratcliffe said.
Junior Natalie Sanderson will be another team leader at forward. She tallied five goals and three assists for 13 points last season. Junior Katie Wayland and redshirt freshman Heidi Herrick will be vying for action as forwards. The Cardinal lose the contributions of Marcia Wallis who currently plays for the Carolina Courage of the WUSA.