Aug. 20., 1997
Stanford Head Coach Steve Swanson would like to continue the winning tradition the
Stanford women's soccer program has enjoyed throughout the 90's. Stanford's winning
percentage ranks fifth in the nation among teams who have fielded teams throughout the
90's. They have racked up an impressive 112-24-5 record over the past seven seasons
(.812) that includes two conference titles. The year ahead looks to be a challenging
one for the Cardinal, but Swanson's squad should rise to the occasion.
"The Stanford women's soccer team has a rich history.Our aim is not only to add to this
tradition, but make our own history along the way," said Swanson.
The Cardinal is looking to earn its eighth straight berth in the NCAA Tournament and
capture their third-consecutive Pac-10 title. Although Swanson's squad is relatively
inexperienced, Swanson feels he has a great deal of talent to work with. The Cardinal
returns two 1996 all-conference selections in Emily Burt and Elie Foster, but will rely
heavily on the talent of the underclassmen to fill the void left by graduation.
"At the end of last year we were definitely playing our best soccer. The challenge for
us this season is to pick up on our finish. Despite the loss of seven seniors and the
relative inexperience of the team, I feel we have the ability to do this. A lot will
depend on our leadership, confidence and ability to play together."
Swanson looks to seniors Burt, Foster and Rita Hermiz to lead a relatively
inexperienced team. The three are considered All-Conference candidates and have led
past Cardinal squads to postseason play and look to do the same in 1997.
"Our three seniors will really have to set the tone," said Swanson. "As captains, Elie
and Emily lead by example while Rita plays with a great deal of passion and heart."
Here's a position-by-position look at the 1997 Stanford Cardinal:
Burt and junior Tracye Lawyer look to lead the Cardinal on the front line. Burt, last
year's team MVP was a 1997 second team All-Pac-10 selection. She led the team in goals
last season and already ranks fifth in Stanford history in shots on goal, eighth in
points, ninth in games started and assists. Burt is a tremendous athlete who competes
hard and provides a tremendous amount of leadership. She has good touch and vision and
a great nose for the goal. Lawyer had an outstanding sophomore season, recording the
first hat trick of her career against Washington on Oct. 27. She made an impact last
season and established herself as an offensive threat. Also looking to add to the
Stanford attack is sophomore Casey Bernard and freshman Karin Brett, the Tennessee
State High School player of the year. They will add depth to a front line that is
without the services of starting forward Kelly Adamson.
Leading Stanford will be All-American candidate Elie Foster. One of the best midfielders
in the country, Foster is a two-time All-Pac-10 selection. She was one of only three
players to start all 21 matches last season. A 1997 co-captain, Foster is looking to start
in the midfield for the fourth consecutive year. Her great play making skills and excellent
quickness along with her leadership ability make her a key to the Cardinal's success in
1997. Another important factor will be senior Rita Hermiz. Hermiz has tremendous speed
and excellent playmaking skills which make her an potent offensive threat, especially out
wide. She has the ability to take over games for the Cardinal. Hermiz ranks eighth in
Stanford history in career assists and is sixth on the single-season assists list. She was
sidelined part of the 1996 season due to injury, but came on strong down the stretch and
was a key factor in postseason play. "We are very fortunate to have two senior players in
the midfield," said Swanson. "In Elie and Rita, I feel we have two of the most explosive
midfielders around." Juniors Christy Stoffel and Charmaine LeBlanc will also be major
contributors for the Cardinal in the midfield. LeBlanc combines great endurance with
strong technical skills. Stoffel will look to patrol the left flank. She is a powerful
player with good size and an aggressive style of play. Also competing for a starting
role will be Shauna Itri, Becka Livermore and Celina DeLeon.
Leading a young group in the backfield will be sophomore Ronnie Fair. Fair is a very
versatile player with a great deal of experience. Ronnie Fair returns for preseason
just after helping the U.S. Under 20 team to a first place finish in the Nordic Cup.
Before she leaves the Farm, Fair could establish herself as one of the greatest players
in Stanford history. "Ronnie is blessed with both athleticism and skills," said
Swanson. "In my eyes she is one of the top young players in the country." Adding depth
in the backfield will be sophomores Jen O'Sullivan and Natalie Kim. They showed a great
deal of improvement in the spring and have stepped up the level of their game. Their
confidence has grown enormously, allowing them to become a major factor defensively for
the Cardinal. Competing for time will be Jill Buxton who is returning from a back
injury. She performed well in the spring and looks to break into the starting lineup
this season. Christy Arnold, Katherine Horney and Christy LaPierre should all challenge
for time. "No question our backfield will be critical for us," said Swanson. "We have a
young group, but they are very athletic and play well together."
Erin Bryla returns for her junior season after starting all 41 matches over her
freshman and sophomore seasons. Bryla already ranks third in Stanford history in
minutes played, fourth in shutouts and saves and fifth in goals against average. Her
great quickness and reflexes along with her experience in the net make her the
front-runner for the starting position. Her leadership skills will be an asset to a
team with limited experience. "Erin is one of the hardest workers on the team," said
Swanson. "She gets the most out of herself and is a very inspirational player."
Providing depth at the position will be junior Lisa Brooks and sophomore Wendi Whitman.
Both are vastly improved from their freshman years. Looking to challenge for minutes
will be freshman Carly Smolak, an all-state high school goalkeeper last year in Oregon.