CARDINAL CORNER . . . The Stanford field hockey team held its first official practice on Thursday. Stanford is set to host three exhibition matches, tentatively slated for Aug. 12, 14 and 18. Stanford's 18-game regular-season slate includes eight contests to be played at the Varsity Turf, beginning with the home opener on Aug. 24 against La Salle in what represents the Cardinal's earliest start to a season in school history ... Defending national champion Stanford has been projected to win a fourth consecutive Pac-12 women's soccer title by a vote of conference coaches. Stanford, which opens its season Aug. 17 against visiting Santa Clara, received all but two first-place votes, though coaches could not vote for their own team. UCLA received the others and is predicted to finish second, with Cal third and Oregon State fourth. Stanford will play at UCLA on Oct. 28 and at Cal on Nov. 4 in back-to-back matches, and Oregon State comes to Laird Q. Cagan Stadium on Sept. 27. Stanford (25-0-1 overall and 11-0 in the Pac-12 last year) enters the season on a 31-match conference winning streak, the third-longest all-time in collegiate women's soccer. ... Football fans can catch a preview of the 2012 Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, as the team's seventh practice of training camp will be open to the public. Saturday's practice session will begin at 9 a.m. on Elliott Field and conclude at approximately 11 a.m. Stanford football will host its annual Open House event on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Stanford Stadium and Dan Elliott Practice Field. The event, which will include admission to Stanford's open practice, behind-the scenes tour of Stanford Stadium and its locker room facilities, football skill stations, a mini fan fest and player autographs, is free and open to the public. Fans will also have the opportunity to take photos with the 2011 Orange Bowl Trophy, an Andrew Luck cutout and learn more about the upcoming season and the Pac-12 Networks. 2012 football posters will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. Fans will also have the opportunity to select their seats for new season ticket purchases.