Women's Soccer Ready for 2004 Campaign
Aug. 17, 2004
Stanford, Calif. -
Stanford Story: In his first year at Stanford, head coach Paul Ratcliffe guided the Cardinal to a third place finish in the Pac-10 and an NCAA Tournament appearance. With 10 wins in his inaugural season, Ratcliffe has set the bar high and looks to improve on that mark this fall. The team returns two fifth-year seniors, forward Marcie Ward and goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. The duo will provide experience and composure on the field as they captain the squad. Ward, one of Stanford's most prolific scorers, started every match in her first three years on The Farm before taking a medical redshirt in 2003. With 38 assists in her career, she already tops the Stanford record book and she ranks fifth on the career goals scored list with 34. Barnhart has tended goal for the last two seasons and has given the Cardinal a tremendous defensive edge. As a sophomore, Barnhart was the nation's top keeper with a 0.18 goals-against average. She notched 18 shutouts on the year and allowed only four goals in over 2,000 minutes of play. Last season, she limited opponents to 0.79 goals per game and picked up 66 saves.The Cardinal will boast significant depth as seven starters return from last season. The squad will posses extra poise, as seven seniors and six juniors suiting up for Stanford. During the off-season, four players gained valuable experience playing on the U.S. National Teams, with sophomore Rachel Buehler on the Under-19 team and juniors Jenny Farenbaugh and Hayley Hunt playing with Barnhart on the Under-21 team.Stanford needs to capitalize on its many strengths as the Cardinal faces another tough schedule, with matches against 11 qualifiers from the 2003 NCAA Tournament, including contests against quarterfinalist Santa Clara on Sept. 30 and semifinalist UCLA on Oct. 22.'I am really excited about our schedule and how many great teams we'll see during the regular season,' says Ratcliffe. 'We have a challenging non-conference slate that will prepare us for the Pac-10 conference and then we'll be ready to tackle the postseason. It's a great balance and we'll be tested throughout the fall.'Stanford opens the season against Utah at home before heading to the Midwest for the Notre Dame Tournament and matches against Big 12 powers Missouri and Nebraska. The Cardinal will return to California to close out its non-conference schedule. On Oct. 10, Stanford heads to Berkeley to open Pac-10 play at Cal. The Cardinal will host the Arizona and Oregon schools at home and will travel south to face UCLA and USC before closing out the regular season at Washington and Washington State.Here's a look at the 2004 Cardinal squad by position:Goalkeepers... Co-captain Nicole Barnhart returns to the cage for her third season as Stanford's starting keeper. The fifth-year senior suffered an ACL injury in 2001 but has not missed a step since returning to the field. She posted a record-breaking season in 2002, starting 23 matches and racking up 2,047 minutes of playing time. Barnhart finished her sophomore season with a 0.18 goals-against average, 18 shutouts and 59 saves. Last year, Barnhart allowed only 17 goals in 21 contests and picked up 66 saves.Barnhart spent her third-straight summer with the U-21 team and helped the squad to its sixth-consecutive Nordic Cup title.Junior Elizabeth Barnard is a tremendous asset to the Stanford squad as a trusted backup at goalkeeper. Barnard has seen action in three games, allowing zero goals and recording one save. Newcomer Erica Holland will also aid the Cardinal efforts in goal. Holland, a 2003 graduate of College Park High School, spent the past two years as the keeper for the Northern California State Team.'We are very fortunate to have such an outstanding set of goalkeepers,' notes Ratcliffe. 'Assistant coach Jay Cooney has a lot of talent to work with and we expect great things from them this season.'Defenders... The Cardinal returns juniors Jenny Farenbaugh, Hayley Hunt and Lindsey Hunt to the defensive unit that allowed only 17 goals and 167 shots on the year. Farenbaugh tabbed two goals, both game-winners, and one assist last season. She spent the past summer with the U-21 National Team. Although both Hunts struggled with injury last season, the duo returned for the last half of the season and helped the Cardinal secure a third-place finish in the Pac-10.Hayley Hunt, a two-time All-Pac-10 honoree, spent the summer with the U-21 National Team. The Cardinal has more weapons on defense, as senior Emilee Shim and sophomore Heidi Herrick also return for Stanford. An experienced pair, the two combined for 20 starts last season. 'Our defensive unit works so well together,' says Ratcliffe, 'and I think they're going to come together even more this year. They've spent a lot of time playing with each other and they are so instinctive on the field.'Midfielders... Despite the loss of last season's leading scorer, Allyson Marquand, the Stanford midfield will be stronger than ever as the experienced core of senior Amy Grady and junior Leah Tapscott, mix with four newcomers: Melissa Esparza, Lizzy George, April Wall and Mimi Yuhas. Grady appeared in 18 contests last season and recorded three assists for the Cardinal, while Tapscott was one of six Cardinal players to start all 21 games last fall and tallied 31 shots on the season.Rachel Buehler, who has competed on the U-19 National Team the last two summers, returns to The Farm for her sophomore season. Last fall, she saw time in 15 games, including eight starts and will look to contribute more this fall. Two of Buehler's fellow sophomores are also returning to the midfield this fall, Gina Farias-Eisner and Shari Summers.'Our midfield has a lot of experience coming into this fall,' comments Ratcliffe. 'We have a great group of newcomers and an impressive group of veterans. They should work well together and it will be a great boost for our whole team.'Forwards... Senior co-captain Marcie Ward returns for her final campaign in Cardinal & White this fall after missing last season with an injury. Before missing the 2003 season, Ward started every match of her 65-game collegiate career and already tops the Cardinal record-books with 38 career assists. She led the 2002 team in assists (13) and topped the charts with teammate Marcia Wallis in shots (80) and scoring (33). Ward's performance in 2002 earned her First-Team All-Pac-10 and Second-Team West Region All-America honors.Also returning to the squad are seniors Natalie Sanderson, Katie Wayland and Martha West. Sanderson, the Cardinal's top returning scorer from last season, has tabbed 11 goals and 9 assists in her first three seasons. Wayland made appearances in 14 games last season and chalked up one assist on the season. West, who scored seven goals and four assists during her first two seasons, returns to the squad for her final year.'We have a lot of great forwards to work with this year,' notes Ratcliffe. 'Having four seniors on the front line means that we have a lot of maturity and patience on our offense. It's a great asset.'