STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford fans will get their first look at a team that includes nine newcomers when the Cardinal plays Grand Canyon in a free women’s soccer exhibition Saturday at noon.
The match will be played at Steuber Rugby Stadium (across Chuck Taylor Grove from Laird Q. Cagan Stadium) while the new sod at Cagan is settling in.
Stanford is coming off its fifth consecutive NCAA College Cup and fourth consecutive Pac-12 championship. The Cardinal takes on an Antelope team that went 9-7-2 last season. Grand Canyon plays in the Western Athletic Conference.
Stanford (22-1-2 last season) lost eight seniors, but returns 20 others, including six starters. Among those returning are All-Americans Emily Oliver at goalkeeper and Courtney Verloo at forward. Taylor Uhl, a 2012 third-team NSCAA All-America while at University of Minnesota, is a junior forward who led the nation in scoring last season.
Saturday’s match will be the first in a Stanford uniform for Uhl, who is coming off a 21-goal season. Among the newcomers, she is joined by eight freshmen, including defender Stephanie Amack, defender Maddie Bauer, goalkeeper Jane Campbell, and defender/forward Ryan Walker-Hartshorn – all members of the U.S. Under-20 national-team pool. Also new are defender Carly Olszewski, forward Nathalie Marie, defender/forward Siobhan Cox from nearby Los Altos Hills, and midfielder/forward Megan Turner.
Stanford actually has seven returnees who have been regular starters, including redshirt junior Kendall Romine, a starter in central defense on the Cardinal’s 2011 NCAA championship team. Returning starters from 2012 are senior Oliver (2011 NSCAA third-team All-America), two-time first-team All-Pac-12), sophomore defender Laura Liedle, junior midfielder Alex Doll, junior midfielder/forward Lo’eau LaBonta (2012 All-Pac-12 honorable mention), junior forward Chioma Ubogagu (2012 All-Pac-12 first team), and fifth-year senior Verloo (2010 NSCAA third-team All-America).
Liedle and Walker-Hartshorn joined the Cardinal Monday after participating in the U.S. U20 camp in Carson, Calif.
Verloo (10 goals, 11 assists, 31 points) and Ubogagu (5g, 11a, 21 pts) were 1-2 in scoring for the Cardinal last season. Overall, Stanford returns four of its top five scorers and 40 of its 59 goals (68 percent).
Stanford plays its official season opener Aug. 23 at Boston College and its home opener Aug. 31 against Portland.
The Cardinal will find out its ranking when the results of the NSCAA preseason coaches’ poll is released Tuesday.