[STANFORD WOMEN] The Cardinal won its first 25 games before falling to North Carolina in the 2009 Women's College Cup final. Stanford should exact its revenge
"In that final game, we didn't play well," Paul Ratcliffe said. "That was disappointing that we never really played the way we played the entire season. Hopefully, that's in the back of their minds. Hopefully, they're upset about that and realize it was a great opportunity, and they've got to turn that around and have another great year.
The Cardinal lost Soccer America Player of the Year Kelley O'Hara, the nation's leading scorer, and Ali Riley, who are both starting for WPS leader FC Gold Pride, but it is still loaded from front to back.
Christen Press (third-leading scorer in the country with 21 goals and a school-record 16 assists) and Lindsay Taylor (16 goals in 2008) return up top, while the midfield, led by All-Americans Teresa Noyola and Mariah Nogueira, returns intact.
As for the defense, Kira Maker is starting in goal for her fourth season, and sophomores Alina Garciamendez and Rachel Quon started for Mexico and USA, respectively, at the recent Under-20 Women's World Cup in Germany.
On just about any other team, Courtney Verloo, who has represented the USA in two World Cups, the energetic Camille Levin and Nogueira would have been starters last year, but they came off the bench for Stanford in the final against Carolina.
Verloo and Levin can play in a variety of roles.
"It's going to be really entertaining team, with some very exciting players playing an exciting brand of soccer," Ratcliffe said. "They're enjoyable to watch, no doubt about it."
Aug. 20 at Boston College 7 p.m. ET
Aug. 22 at Boston Univ. 7 p.m. ET
Carolina Nike Classic
Aug. 27 at North Carolina 6 p.m. ET
Aug. 29 vs. Duke 11 a.m. ET
Stanford Nike Invitational
Sept. 10 vs. Georgia 7 p.m. PT
Sept. 12 vs. Pacific 2 p.m. PT
Santa Clara Classic
Sept. 17 vs. Utah 5 p.m. PT
Sept. 19 vs. Georgetown 11 a.m. PT
Sept. 23 vs. Hawaii 7 p.m. PT
Sept. 25 vs. Portland 7 p.m. PT
Oct. 3 vs. Santa Clara 1 p.m. PT
Oct. 10 at USC* 7 p.m. PT
Oct. 12 at UCLA* 1 p.m. PT
Oct. 15 vs. Washington State* 5 p.m. PT
Oct. 17 vs. Washington* 12 p.m. PT
Oct. 22 at Arizona State* 7 p.m. MT
Oct. 24 at Arizona* 12 p.m. MT
Oct. 30 at California* 3 p.m. PT
Nov. 5 vs. Oregon State* 8 p.m. PT
Nov. 7 vs. Oregon* 1 p.m. PT