#3 Stanford Women's Soccer 2012 Preview

Stanford Cardinal

Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #2 Pac-12
Stanford Women's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Stanford Team Page


Stanford had a magical 2011 campaign that, of course, ended with a national title. On the year, the Cardinal won 25 games, tied one and lost none. That tie came just three games into the season on the road against then fourth ranked Maryland. From then on out, Stanford had their way with the competition. In the NCAA Tournament they scored 13 goals and allowed just one. Those are impressive numbers and the Cardinal will look to continue their winning ways in 2012 and are early favorites to return to the College Cup.

2011 Record: 25-0-1, 11-0-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Paul Ratcliffe

Stanford is hard to beat since the defense is so impressive. Alina Garciamendez, Rachel Quon, Nina Watkins and Madeleine Thompson are all experienced senior defenders. Kendall Romine started 22 games as a freshman and will only get better with that year of experience. Sydney Payne can even play some defense, but the big, strong junior mostly plays up front. As if that was not enough, a couple of the best prep defenders in the nation are in Palo Alto. Laura Liedle and Maya Theuer would be starting on just about every other team in the nation as freshmen, but at Stanford they will have some time to get acclimated to life in the Pac-12. However, Coach Paul Ratcliffe will not be afraid to use them if they prove that they are ready to contribute. While all of that depth and talent on the back line is nice, the true star of the defense is goalkeeper Emily Oliver. As a junior last year she started and played in 23 games. In those 23 games she made 65 saves and allowed just five goals. Her .929 save percentage ranked second in the nation and her .232 goals against average was the best in all of college soccer. The amount of goals the Cardinal allow this season may be able to be counted on one hand.

There are not a lot of weaknesses to be found on a team that can reload as easily as Stanford. However, the losses for the Cardinal, albeit a small number, are big. Lindsay Taylor is gone after leading the team, and ranking fourth in the nation, with 20 goals and pitching in with seven assists. Teres Noyola was the playmaker in the midfield and was a consistent All-American. Last year she ranked second in the country with 15 assists. She could always make things happen for Stanford and was a very good goal scorer as well. Kristy Zurmuhlen really stepped up her game during her senior season. She was a roleplayer off of the bench for three years, but emerged as great starter. She was a tough midfielder and tallied six goals and four assists. Camille Levin was one of the most versatile players in the country. She usually started out at left back, but could move anywhere on the field and be effective finding her teammates and occasionally scoring on her own. Only four players started all 26 games for the Cardinal in 2011 and three of them are gone. Zurmuhlen started 25 games. Of course Stanford can reload, but Chioma Ubogagu will be gone for a while as she plays in the U-20 World Cup in Japan in August and, possibly, into September. In the meantime, Stanford has to find some new scorers and some more playmakers in the midfield.

Final Projection:
A couple former All-Americans is a good place to start. Mariah Nogueira is the rock in the midfield. Others may garner more attention for their playmaking abilities, but Nogueira sparks the offense and bolsters the defense. Courtney Verloo is also back after missing last season with an injury. And in her time off the former defender is moving up to striker…again. She is a very good passer and can create opportunities for the other strikers, but this Stanford team may need her to take a few more cracks at goal. Marjani Hing-Glover, a part-time starter as a junior, will find herself with many more scoring opportunities in 2012. If she can put them away, Hing-Glover will be in for a breakout senior season. Taylor McCann only totaled 489 minutes as a sophomore, but the midfielder made the most out of her opportunities, netting three goals and adding one assist. She will not be able to keep up that pace, but there should be a starting job waiting for her if she can even come close. This is a Stanford team that will be in every game because of their defense, but there are some questions that need to be answered on the offensive end before the Cardinal will be ready to win another national title.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Cioma Ubogagu, Sophomore, F, 10
Assists: Cioma Ubogagu, Sophomore, F, 10
Shots: Cioma Ubogagu, Sophomore, F, 80
Saves: Emily Oliver, Junior, GK, 65

Madness 2012 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#5 Laura Liedle
#11 Maya Theuer
#27 Kate Bettinger
#66 Sarah Cox