Aug. 16, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. -
The No. 2 Stanford women's soccer team opens its season against unranked Penn State in a Rose Bowl-worthy matchup between 2010 Pac-10 and Big Ten champs, on Friday (7 p.m.) at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. Stanford (23-1-2 last season) then plays host to Pacific on Sunday at 1 p.m. in another nonconference match.
Who: Penn State at No. 2 Stanford
Where: Laird Q. Cagan Stadium
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
What: Opening Night for Cardinal women's soccer and the first event of the 2011-12 academic year for Stanford teams
Tickets: 1-800-STANFORD or gostanford.com
What else: Pacific at Stanford
Where: Laird Q. Cagan Stadium
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
What: Cardinal takes on the up-and-coming Tigers of the Big West
Follow the Action: Live stats can be found through the Gametracker icon on the schedule pages of gostanford.com. There is no live video or audio of either match.
Where we left off: The last match Stanford played was in the NCAA College Cup final, in chilly Cary, N.C., on Dec. 5. Stanford, appearing in its third consecutive College Cup, lost to Notre Dame, 1-0, but returns nine starters and four All-Americans from that team. However, the Cardinal did lose national scoring leader Christen Press (26 goals) to graduation, as well as midfielder Allison McCann, who did a lot of the blue-collar work that ignited the Cardinal attack.
Who's back?: Stanford returns four All-Americans, eight all-conference players, nine starters, 19 letterwinners, and adds six newcomers. Attacking midfielder Teresa Noyola is Stanford's first two-time first-team All-American since current U.S. national team goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart (2002, 2004). The other returning All-Americans are top returning scorer Lindsay Taylor (11 goals in '10; 2008 first team), defensive midfielder Mariah Nogueira (2009 second team), and forward Courtney Verloo (2010 third team as a central defender). In all, Stanford returns 43 of its 74 goals (58 percent), plus its entire starting defense that had 14 shutouts and allowed only 12 goals.
This will be the earliest match on the calendar in Stanford program history. The Aug. 19 date beats by a day the Aug. 20, 2010, opening date in Chestnut Hill, Mass., when Stanford tied Boston College, 1-1, in a preview of their eventual NCAA semifinal, won by Stanford, 2-0.
Friday's Opponent, Penn State: The Nittany Lions (11-9-1) tied Ohio State for the Big Ten title last season, at 8-2, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Penn State returns eight starters, including junior midfielder Christine Nairn, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection who was among 42 players nationally named to the Hermann Trophy watch list and is a Soccer America Preseason All-America. Senior midfielder Ali Schaefer secured a share of Penn State's 13th consecutive Big Ten title when she scored with 17 seconds left in the second overtime to beat Michigan, 1-0, in the regular-season finale. This will be the first meeting between Stanford and Penn State.
Sunday's Opponent, Pacific: The Tigers are the coaches' choice to finish fourth in the Big West Conference, but could be a sleeper with 15 letterwinners and several of its top players returning. Among them are all-conference second-team choice Alex Topp and senior Laura Hogan, who scored twice against Stanford in a spring match. Pacific was 8-8-3 in 2010, finishing tied for third in the Big West. Stanford holds a 4-0 all-time series lead over Pacific, including a 4-0 victory last season.
Rankings: Stanford is ranked No. 1 by Soccer America and No. 2 behind Notre Dame in the NSCAA coaches' poll, which is considered the most official ranking.
Hermann Trophy Watch List: Stanford senior midfielder Teresa Noyola and junior forward/defender Courtney Verloo are among 42 players named to the watch list for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy. Stanford has won the past two awards, with Kelley O'Hara winning in 2009 and Christen Press last season. Noyola, a two-time first-team All-America, scored 10 goals and had 12 assists last season. Verloo was a third-team All-America choice in her first year as a central defender. However, she has since returned to forward, her original position at Stanford.
Preseason All-Americans: Soccer America named two Stanford players to its 25-player Preseason All-America team. Senior midfielder Teresa Noyola and junior central defender Alina Garciamendez were so honored. In addition, junior outside back Rachel Quon earned a similar honor from All White Kit.
Streaking: Stanford enters the season with several impressive streaks. The Cardinal has won 35 consecutive matches at home and is unbeaten in its past 39 home matches. Stanford also has a 42-match regular-season unbeaten streak, and a 20-match conference winning streak. Stanford has not allowed a first-half goal in 19 consecutive matches, for a shutout streak of 866:44.
National Team Involvement: Stanford was represented by six players in the 2011 FIFA Women's Cup, including two current ones. Junior defender Alina Garciamendez and senior midfielder Teresa Noyola played for Mexico. Former Stanford players in the tournament were Nicole Barnhart, captain Rachel Buehler, and Kelley O'Hara of the United States, and New Zealand's Ali Riley. In addition, Stanford's Camille Levin, Mariah Nogueira, Emily Oliver, and Sydney Payne were active in United States youth national team camps.
When Scoring a Goal: Since the second match of the 2006 season, Stanford is a remarkable 100-0-5 when scoring at least one goal. The last time Stanford scored and lost was Aug. 27, 2006, in a 2-1 overtime loss to Wake Forest at Santa Clara. At home, Stanford hasn't scored a goal and lost since Oct. 5, 2003, during coach Paul Ratcliffe's first season, when the Cardinal fell to Loyola Marymount, 2-1. Stanford is 70-0-3 when scoring a home goal during that stretch.
Pac-12 favorite: Stanford was the unanimous choice to win the Pac-12 title, as voted by the conference coaches. The Cardinal received all 11 possible first-place votes, and the maximum 121 points. UCLA was picked to finish second.