Stanford men's soccer opens its two-match exhibition slate Wednesday night at 7 p.m., hosting Sonoma State at Steuber Rugby Field. The field is located next to the soccer practice fields adjacent to Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, and admission for Wednesday's match is free.
The Cardinal, with head coach Jeremy Gunn entering his second year at the helm and returning three 2012 All-Pac-12 selections in midfielders JJ Koval (two goals, two assists in 2012) and Aaron Kovar (three goals, two assists, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year) and forward Zach Batteer (six goals), was tabbed third in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll Tuesday morning. Stanford earned 15 points based on the voting, behind top-point getter UCLA (24 points, five first-place votes) and Washington (19 points, one first-place vote).
Last year Stanford finished 9-8-1 overall and took third on the Pac-12 table with a 5-4-1 record and 16 points. The Cardinal finished the season in fine form, going 6-3-1 over its final 10 matches and ending the year with a 6-1 victory at California.
Wednesday's friendly against Sonoma State is the first chance for fans to see the 2013 Cardinal in action. In addition to the trio of All-Pac-12 returners, Stanford also returns its No. 1 goalkeeper in senior Drew Hutchins (five shutouts, 1.21 GAA in 2012) while Eric Verso (three goals, one assist) and Austin Meyer (one goal, three assists) are back to help form a strong Cardinal midfield.
Joining this group is a talented eight-man group of freshman in goalies Nico Corti (Westlake Village, Calif./Agoura HS) and Andrew Epstein (Fort Collins, Colo./Poudre HS), forwards Mark Verso (Tujunga, Calif./St. Francis HS) and Jordan Morris (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island HS), midfielder Trevor Hyman (Irvine, Calif./Vista Grande HS) and defenders Cameron Chesnutt (Portland, Ore./Jesuit HS), Marshall Glover (Alpharetta, Ga./Westminster Schools) and Brian Nana-Sinkam (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Township HS).
Following Wednesday's match, the Cardinal concludes its exhibition slate with a 5:30 p.m. tilt at Sacramento State. Stanford opens the 2013 regular season at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium next Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. against No. 2 Maryland. The opening weekend concludes Sunday, Sept. 1 with a 4 p.m. match against No. 3 Georgetown.