Stanford fifth-year senior Haley Rosen experienced the best and worst of women's soccer through her first four years in the program, from watching her teammates win a national championship to seeing her season end prematurely because of an injury.
Cardinal coach Paul Ratcliffe (214-45-24, entering 13th year) hopes Rosen can stay healthy this year. The team needs her, and not just she's the elder stateswoman of the squad. Stanford will be looking for scoring from various sources and Rosen has shown a propensity for doing just that when she is healthy.
Stanford, which has participated in the past 17 consecutive NCAA playoffs and reached six of the past seven Women's College Cups (Final Four), including a national title in 2011, opens its season with a pair of matches in Hawaii this weekend. The Cardinal (20-2-3 last year) opens against the host Rainbow Wahine on Friday night and then play BYU on Monday.
Rosen is also the only player on the roster who knows what it feels like to win a national title.
"Being part of that team, I saw how the seniors set an amazing example of working hard, making it a cohesive group and being all in 100 percent," Rosen said. "That stuck with me. It was contagious. There was a 100 percent commitment from everybody."
The Cardinal was ranked third nationally in a preseason poll and was picked to win the conference title in a vote of Pac-12 coaches. Ratcliffe could do without either designation.
"It's predicated on what you did the year before," Ratcliffe said. "Regardless of what you have accomplished, you have to prove you are capable of winning the Pac-12. A lot if may be that this recruiting class was rated No. 1, but those kids have to prove it. It's a new group every year. We graduated some good kids and we brought in good kids. They will be tested throughout the year."
Rosen, one of five seniors who help set the tone for the year, was a redshirt in her first season due to injury. She also missed half of her sophomore year with injuries before appearing in 24 matches in last year's run to the Final Four.
"My personal journey is one I would never had expected," she said. "It does make me all the more appreciative of the opportunities I've had. I feel so fortunate to be part of Stanford soccer. Paul creates an amazing environment."
Senior defender Laura Liedle is, perhaps, the steadiest and most reliable player on the field, having started 69 (of a possible 70) matches, including the past 55 in succession. She was named a freshman All-American and was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention pick last year.
"She's going to be a good leader," Ratcliffe said. "You hope (seniors) can help coach on the field."
Other seniors include goalie Sarah Cox and midfielders Kate Bettinger and Katie Donague.
Liedle leads a defense that not only proved stingy in allowing goals but also in allowing shots on goal, helping junior goalie Jane Campbell record a historic season. Campbell had 14 shutouts, second-most in a single season at Stanford. She had a scoreless streak of over 800 minutes at one point and has 20 shutouts, sixth on Stanford's all-time list.
Two other important defenders also return in juniors Stephanie Amack and Maddie Bauer. Amack, who also plays in the midfield at times, has been a Defender of the Week, voted onto the All-Pac-12 team and was an honorable mention last year.
Bauer, also an all-freshman pick, has been named a second team All-Pac-12 in each of her first two years.
Los Altos Hills resident Siobhan Cox, forward Megan Turner and midfielder Ryan Walker-Hartshorn complete a talented junior class that brings plenty of experience to the field. The juniors have combined to appear in 241 matches, including 152 starts.
Sophomore midfielder Andi Sullivan said she picked Stanford because it's a "consistently Final Four level team, even though the year before I came they didn't make it."
Sullivan, named National Freshman of the Year by Top Drawer Soccer, was an important reason why the Cardinal returned to the national stage last year.
In addition to her playing skills, Sullivan is a natural leader. Despite being one of the youngest players on club, high school and junior national teams, she's usually named a team captain. She doesn't have an explanation for it.
"Honestly, it's just me being myself," Sullivan said. "My teammates push me and accept me. I think it's part of the team chemistry. I'm just playing. My parents taught me a lot about being a leader and turn to them for guidance."
Of course, she doesn't have that luxury while playing. As the youngest player on her Bethesda club team, she served as captain, but turned to Carina Deandries, a junior currently playing for Northeastern, as a role model.
"She's always positive and always the hardest worker at practice or anywhere," Sullivan said. "She helped me get through any situation and that got to me."
Sullivan plays hard and stays even-keeled. She wants to keep the team together and composed.
"The goal is to make it back to the Final Four and win it," she said. "It's purposeful to have a unified goal. As soon as you start to play, you start to believe it. It's positive energy."
Menlo-Atherton grad Zoe Pacalin, who appeared in four games last year, is also part of the sophomore class along with Mariah Lee, who played in 25 matches a year ago.
Menlo School grad Jaye Boissiere also returns. She played 57 minutes in the season-opener and missed the rest of the year with an injury. Kyra Carusa and Alison Jahansouz also used their redshirt year.
The six-member freshmen class includes two Gatorade Players of the Year and another state Player of the Year, four two-time youth All-Americans and a member of the Australian U20 national team.
"We are extra confident in the freshmen class," Sullivan said. "They came in sharp and are already excellent."
Averie Collins, all-state in both soccer and basketball, was the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year. Her father, Shane Collins, played in the NFL for three years. Michelle Xiao was named Nebraska's Gatorade Player of the Year, was a two-time youth All-American and a state Junior Olympic hurdles champ.
Alana Cook earned New Jersey prep Player of the Year honors and was a two-time youth All-American, as was Jordan DiBiasi and Teagan McGrady, who was also a California state qualifier in the 200 and 400 relay in track and field. Penelope Edmonds joined the Australian U20 team as a 16-year-old.
Rosen's advice to the freshmen?
"I know this sounds cheesy but it's to have fun because it goes by so quickly," she said. "And remember the journey."
NOTES: The Pac-12 has four teams ranked in the NSCAA preseason poll including two teams in the top-five. Stanford sits in the No. 3 spot while UCLA is at No. 4. California is 18th overall and Washington is 20th. USC, Arizona State, Washington State, Colorado and Arizona also received votes . . . A total of 28 players from around the country have been marked as potential contenders for the 2015 Missouri Athletic Club's (MAC) Hermann Trophy. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the most prestigious individual award in college soccer presented annually to one male and one female athlete. The Pac-12 has three representatives on the list Stanford's senior Jane Campbell, Stanford sophomore Andi Sullivan, the 2014 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and UCLA's senior Taylor Smith . . . A league-record nine Pac-12 teams earned berths to the 2014 NCAA Women's College Cup. Two Conference teams earned top seeds, with UCLA and Stanford taking home two of the four No. 1 spots. Other teams that received berths were No. 4-seeded Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, USC and Washington State. UCLA is the reigning Pac-12 champion after going undefeated during conference play in 2014. The Conference also returns four All-Pac-12 first-team honorees . . . Stanford's appearance in the 2014 Women's College Cup marked the 20th by a Pac-12 team and the seventh by the Cardinal, tied for the sixth-most national semifinal appearances by a school in the country.
2015 STANFORD WOMEN'S SOCCER
Date Opponent Time
Friday at Hawaii 10 p.m.
Aug. 24 at BYU# 10 p.m.
Aug. 28 vs. Boston College 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Cal Poly-SLO 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Penn St. 8 p.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Oklahoma 1 p.m.
Sept. 17 vs. UC Davis 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Santa Clara 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Utah* 3 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Arizona St.* 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Arizona* 11 a.m.
Oct. 8 vs. Oregon St.* 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 vs. Oregon* 8 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Colorado* 8 p.m.
Oct. 22 at WSU* 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Washington* 5 p.m.
Oct. 29 vs. USC* 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 vs. UCLA* 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 vs. Cal* 6 p.m.
Nov. 13 NCAA first round
Nov. 20 NCAA second round
Nov. 22 NCAA third round
Nov. 27 NCAA quarterfinals
Dec. 4 College Cup semifinals@
Dec. 6 College Cup finals@
# at Honolulu, Hawaii
* Pac-12 Conference
@ Cary, N.C.