Stanford men's soccer's first step toward maintaining the momentum from its breakout 2014 season will be a strong spring, and the Cardinal announced its 2014 spring slate Wednesday.
The Cardinal, which went 10-7-4 last season and reached the Round of 16 in its first NCAA Tournament since 2009, begins spring practice Monday, March 31 and opens its six-game slate Wednesday, April 9 in San Jose against Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes.
The game against the Earthquakes is one of two against a professional side, as the Cardinal will also take on USL PRO club Sacramento Republic FC Saturday, May 10 at Stanford.
The Earthquakes feature two recent Stanford alumni in forward Adam Jahn, who finished his Cardinal career in 2012, and JJ Koval, an All-Pac-12 midfielder last year who made his pro debut in San Jose's season-opening 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake this past Saturday.
The matches with the pro teams sandwich three meetings with local college teams Cal Poly (April 12 in San Luis Obispo), San Francisco (April 19 at Stanford) and UC Davis (April 26 in Davis).
"We are looking forward to a very exciting spring schedule. The team have continued to make great progress since a very successful fall, with training going very well," said Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn, who will enter his third season at the helm this fall. "We look sharp and are ready to take on some excellent opponents. Our opening game should be the toughest against the Earthquakes, when hopefully we might see Adam and JJ in action against their old teammates. The three college opponents will all pose very different challenges, while the two games against professional teams should provide us tremendous tests."
This year the Cardinal returns four All-Pac-12 performers, including first-team selections and striker combo Zach Batteer (nine goals, three assists in 2013) and Jordan Morris (six goals, seven assists). Defender Brandon Vincent was named to the second team while midfielder Ty Thompson was named honorable mention.
Batteer will enter his final season on The Farm in 2014, while Thompson and Vincent will be juniors and Morris will enter his sophomore campaign.
Forward Eric Verso, who added three goals last season, also returns to bolster the Cardinal attack.
The Cardinal also returns much of its back line from a year ago, as Vincent returns to anchor the back four along with starters Jimmy Callinan, Matt Taylor and Brian Nana-Sinkam. This spring will also feature a pair of second-year goalkeepers, Andrew Epstein and Nico Corti, competing for the No. 1 spot between the posts after apprenticing under All-Pac-12 keeper Drew Hutchins in 2013.
2014 Stanford Men's Soccer Spring Results
(Home matches in BOLD)
Wednesday, April 9 - San Jose Earthquakes 1 - Stanford 1
Saturday, April 12 - Cal Poly 0 - Stanford 2
Saturday, April 19 - Stanford 1 - San Francisco 1
Saturday, April 26 - UC Davis 0 - Stanford 2
Saturday, May 10 - Stanford 4 - Sacramento Republic FC 2