Stanford Opens Season Against Utah and Wake Forest

Aug. 22, 2006

Stanford, Calif. -

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THIS WEEK: The Stanford women's soccer team kicks off the 2006 season this weekend, traveling south to compete in the Santa Clara/adidas Classic. In the tournament, Stanford will square off with two 2005 NCAA Tournament participants, Utah and Wake Forest. Action begins at 5 p.m. Friday evening, when the Cardinal meets the Utes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Kickoff against Wake Forest is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m.

ON THE HORIZON: Home action for the Cardinal begins Sept. 1, with a match against San Francisco scheduled for 7 p.m. at Maloney Field. Later in the weekend, on Sept. 3, Stanford will take on the Cal Poly Mustangs. Kickoff for that match is set for 1 p.m. at Maloney Field.

STANFORD IN SEASON-OPENERS: The Cardinal has a history of starting off the season on the right foot. The program boasts a 18-3-1 all-time record in season-openers and has won 17 of the last 18. Last year, Stanford fell in the season-opener for the first time since 1986, losing to the Portland Pilots, 0-3.

CARDINAL HIGHLIGHTS: Rachel Buehler, a U.S. Senior National Team member, returns to a strong Cardinal defense that shut out 11 opponents and allowed just 17 goals last year. Sophomores Marisa Abegg and Allison Falk, both All-Pac-10 Freshmen selections last year, also return to form a solid back line for the Cardinal. On offense, senior Jenny Farenbaugh returns from a redshirt season looking to build on her 26 career points. Senior Shari Summers will be a strong presence in the midfield in her third year as a Cardinal starter. Additionally, the Cardinal has added a strong freshman class which includes two players that have recently received Player of the Match honors at the U-20 World Cup in Russia.

PRESEASON CHATTER: In the annual Pac-1o Preseason Coaches Poll, Stanford was picked to finish third in the conference. The Cardinal earned 63 points in the poll and one first place vote. Stanford ranked No. 19 in the Soccer Buzz Preseason Poll, and third among Pac-10 schools. Senior Rachel Buehler was named a Soccer Buzz Preseason All-American, a honor which marks her as one of the 12 most promising collegiate women's soccer players this season.

SCHEDULE OF CHAMPIONS: This season the Cardinal will meet some of the top women's soccer programs in the nation, including nine teams that participated in the 2005 NCAA Tournament and four that reached the Sweet Sixteen. Six Stanford opponents were ranked in the NSCAA Preseason Poll and half of the Pac-10 schools appeared ranked in at least one major soccer poll. This weekend, Stanford will face its first ranked opponent in No. 23 Wake Forest. In September, Stanford will take on two more: No. 14 Tennessee and No. 7 Santa Clara.

THE SERIES WITH UTAH: On Friday, Stanford and Utah will play for just the second time in history and the second time in a season-opener. In 2004, the Cardinal opened action against the Utes at Maloney Field and posted a 3-0 victory.

SCOUTING THE UTES: Head Coach Rich Manning returns for his fifth season at the helm of the Utes, after leading his squad to the Mountain West Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance last season. The Utes had just two seniors last year, and return 18 letterwinners and nine starters. Leading the way is sophomore Adele Letro, who tallied seven goals and 20 points in 2005. Midfielders Melissa Wayman and Katy Reineke were also key scorers for the Utes last season, with three goals apiece. Senior Ashley Mason returns in goal for Utah, after posting 87 saves and a .845 save percentage in her third season as a starter.

THE SERIES WITH WAKE FOREST: Stanford heads into Sunday's match with Wake Forest looking for its first-ever win against the Demon Deacons. The last meeting between the two programs was at the 2000 Santa Clara/adidas Classic, when the teams battled to a 2-2 draw. In 1997, the Cardinal fell at home to the Demon Deacons, 1-2.

SCOUTING THE DEMON DEACONS: Head Coach Tony da Luz begins his tenth season in Winston-Salem with a 102-69-15 record and an experienced group of seniors. His squad returns 18 letterwinners and nine starters, including three of the top five scorers from last season. Senior forward Elizabeth Remy posted seven goals and 11 assists last year, giving her a hand in more than half of the Demon Deacons' 2005 goals. Senior defender Jayme Leigh Cargnoni scored two goals and posted six assists last year, while senior Lindsey Jaco added three goals. Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Doe, another senior, notched 58 saves and four shutouts last season.