Sports

Cardinal women's soccer coaching staff rules the Pacific

 

Stanford's coaching staff was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Regional Staff of the Year in the Pacific region, as announced by the organization recently.

The Cardinal staff is led by head coach Paul Ratcliffe and assisted by Hideki Nakada, Margueritte Aozasa and Rodrigo Baptista.

The award, which was separated into head coach and assistant coach categories in previous years, is the first full staff award in program history. It is the sixth time in 14 seasons Ratcliffe has been recognized as the Pacific Region Coach of the Year.

Ratcliffe earned the second straight Pac-12 Coach of the Year recognition and seventh of his career during 2016. No other coach has won the award more than twice in conference history. Ratcliffe guided Stanford to its second consecutive Pac-12 title and sixth under his leadership in the past eight years.

Nakada completed his third season with the Cardinal and continued to provide assistance in coaching, recruiting, game-planning, scouting and video. He worked closely with the goalkeepers, which limited opponents to 17 goals in 21 games and held a 0.79 goals-against average.

Aozasa continued to contribute in a variety of ways during her second season with the team, while Baptista brought a wealth of knowledge and experience in his first year with the program.

Men's soccer

For the second consecutive season Stanford placed five on the NSCAA NCAA Division I Men's All-Far West Region Teams it was announced Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Andrew Epstein, defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce and forward Foster Langsdorf were first team selections and co-captains Brian Nana-Sinkam and Drew Skundrich earned spots on the second team.

The quintet has led the Cardinal to its second straight College Cup where it will face North Carolina at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on Friday in one national semifinal at 7:45 p.m. CT on ESPNU.

It's the second NSCAA All-Far West Region nod for Epstein, who was a second teamer last season. The first team Academic All-American and electrical engineering major is one of the best goalkeepers in program history. His 22 career solo shutouts are third all-time at Stanford and his career goals against average (0.70) would be second. His 167 career saves are seventh and his 5,910:59 minutes in goal are third.

Epstein owns a career record of 45-8-10 (.794) and is tied for seventh among active players in solo shutouts. His 0.634 goals against average this season is 12th in the country and he hasn't allowed a goal in his last 506:04 postseason minutes.

A MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist and the 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Hilliard-Arce anchors a defense which is eighth in the nation in goals against average (0.62) and 11th in shutout percentage (0.52).

He has started each of his 62 career appearances and in his three years on The Farm the program has a goals against average of 0.69. It's Hilliard-Arce's second NSCAA All-Far West Region honor. He was on the third team as a freshman in 2014.

Langsdorf has put together one of the best offensive seasons at Stanford to earn his first NSCAA All-Far West Region nod. His career-high 15 goals are tied for eighth in program history and the most for a Cardinal since Willie Guicci had 22 in 1981.The management science and engineering major is fourth nationally in total goals, eighth in goals per game (0.71) and leads the country in game-winning goals (8).

It's the first all-region honors for co-captains and Lancaster County products Nana-Sinkam and Skundrich.

Nana-Sinkam is one of 10 men's soccer student-athletes selected as a finalist for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes seniors that have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

Skundrich has tallied the first four goals of his career this season, is second on the team goals and third in points (11). He has been able to up his offense with a move to the central midfield, the position at which he was recruited coming out of high school. Skundrich was a stalwart right back during Stanford's championship run in 2015, starting all 23 games.

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