STANFORD, Calif. – The exhibition match only offered a first impression, but Stanford’s 8-0 women’s soccer victory over Grand Canyon on Saturday was impressive nonetheless.
Junior transfer Taylor Uhl contributed to the first three goals – including a pair in the first five minutes – to lead the Cardinal over the first-year Division I Antelopes at Steuber Rugby Stadium.
In all, seven players scored and 10 had a goal or assist.
Two players who missed much of last season with injuries were among the biggest contributors. Haley Rosen scored two goals and Shelby Payne had a goal and an assist. When they are combined with nine newcomers, Stanford has an almost completely different look than in its fifth consecutive College Cup season in 2012.
“It was fun,” said Payne, a senior who played in only three matches last year. “This team is super competitive. From top to bottom, everyone’s a great player.
“I have to come in and fight for my spot just like everyone else. I’m pretty comfortable out there right now. Going at people, taking shots, trying to make a difference. I felt like a new player.”
Uhl, in particular, lived up to her stature as nation’s leading scorer. The former University of Minnesota star had a goal and two assists.
In the third minute, Uhl dribbled to the end line and sent a low cross across the box that Chioma Ubogagu collected and scored with a 12-yard left-footed shot.
Barely two minutes later, Uhl was released by a through pass from Alex Doll and patiently slotted in a breakaway shot. In the 22nd minute, Uhl supplied Rosen with a wall pass that Rosen converted on another run through the box.
“It came together early and that’s a really good sign for the future,” said Uhl, who scored 21 goals in 2012. “We’ll keep trying to find that chemistry. That’s the most important thing in attacking, to play off one another. Everyone came out and gave high energy. The chemistry will come with time.”
Ubogagu also had a goal and two assists. Freshman Megan Turner provided another scoring highlight on a nifty first-touch with the outside of her right foot for a 5-0 lead, and Payne’s 15-yard rocket from the right side to make it 7-0 in the 76th minute.Courtney Verloo also scored and had an assist.
Hannah Farr headed in the final goal. In the box score, it may look the same as a soaring Mariah Nogueira strike with velocity, just like the graduated All-America provided numerous times over her Stanford career. The reality of Farr's was something less majestic, but counted just the same.
Stanford opened with three freshmen in the starting lineup: Maddie Bauer in central defense, Ryan Walker-Hartshorn at left outside back, and Stephanie Amack in midfield.
For the first time since 2008, the graduated Alina Garciamendez was not starting a match for the Cardinal. Instead, central defense was manned by combinations of Bauer, redshirt junior Kendall Romine, and sophomore Maya Theuer.
Overall, it was a fine performance and a source of optimism for a team ranked No. 2 in the nation. Stanford opens its season in earnest with a trip to the Northeast, playing at Boston College on Friday and Connecticut on Sunday. Stanford’s home opener, at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, is Aug. 31 (7 p.m.) against Portland.
“I was really happy with how we played today,” Uhl said. “The potential’s there and we did really well for our first exhibition. I am so excited to get going.”
* * *
Stanford 8, Grand Canyon 0
Grand Canyon 0 0 – 0
Stanford 3 5 – 8
Scoring: Ubogagu (Uhl), 2:32; Uhl (Doll), 4:56; Rosen (Uhl, Ubobagu), 21:15; Rosen (Doll), 48:09; Verloo (Ubogagu), 59:00; Turner (Sh. Payne), 70:25; Sh. Payne (Marie), 70:25; Farr (Verloo), 89:11.