Aug. 10, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
In the team's first action since winning a national championship on the grass of Kennesaw, Ga., last December, the Stanford women's soccer team opened the curtain on the 2012 season with a 2-0 exhibition victory over Fresno State at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium on Friday night.
The match gave coach Paul Ratcliffe his first look at his freshmen in game action, as well as sophomores such as Hannah Farr and Haley Rosen, who are looking to play bigger roles (Farr) or just play at all (a now healthy Rosen).
Terms like role-playing and chemistry are prime subjects in a program that must look to those qualities more than ever after a series of seasons with college superstars such as Kelley O'Hara, Christen Press, Teresa Noyola, and Lindsay Taylor over the past several years.
Alex Doll scored on a well-placed 20-yard shot in the 11th minute and Rosen converted a close-range shot in the 77th, taking advantage of Shelby Payne's endline cross, to clinch the victory.
Because of injuries and graduation, the starting lineup included only three players from last year's NCAA final, and only two of those -- holding midfielder Mariah Nogueira and central defender Alina Garciamendez -- were in the same positions. The other starter, Rachel Quon, has since switched from left to right outside back.
Included in the starting lineup were freshman Kate Bettinger
and Doll, a sophomore, hoping to expand her responsibilities this season.
"It wwas good to give everyone substantial playing time," Ratcliffe said. "But more importantly, we're trying to find the right chemistry."
In all, Ratcliffe played all 20 available players, with Doll featuring strongly by stealing a pass deep in Fresno territory and turning it into a 20-yard shot from straight on that beat the Bulldog goalkeeper to the keeper's right.
Rosen looked confident despite missing her freshman season with injuries, providing dangerous opportunities and not shying away from taking on a defender or two. She scored at the far post on a scoring sequence that Payne helped create with her endline dash.
The individual performances were eye-opening to Ratcliffe, whose team has been working out twice a day since Aug. 1. Stanford struggled to find its rhythym until late in the match, and did not dominate to an extent that its' 28-7 shot count advantage might indicate.
"Practice is one thing, but when you play in a game, this is the big stage," Ratcliffe said. "And, right now, I know one thing -- we have work to do."
Stanford officially opens its season Friday, Aug. 17, against visiting Santa Clara in a match that also marks the first live event broadcast on the new Pac-12 Networks.