The goal is a return trip to the Women's College Cup | August 23, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - August 23, 2019

The goal is a return trip to the Women's College Cup

Macario returns as the the MAC Hermann Trophy winner

by Rick Eymer

Stanford junior Catalina Macario already owns the women's soccer career record for assists in postseason play and she's just outside the top 10 in several all-time offensive categories.

She's the reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner as the top college player and was named ESPNW's Player of the Year as a freshman, when she recorded 50 points, which led the nations and was the fourth-best single-season total in Cardinal history.

Only Olympic gold medalists and World Cup champions Kelley O'Hara and Christen Press have had better season.

Macario will be the main focal point for Stanford, the Pac-12 coaches' choice to win its fourth straight conference title, this season and is joined by another talented group of individuals with plenty of experience either at the college level or in the U.S. national team program.

Sophomore Sophia Smith and Macario both open the season on the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list. Smith earned a spot on the watch list despite a freshman season shortened by injury. She recorded 11 points in 13 games.

The third-ranked Cardinal (21-1-2 last season) opens its season with a difficult road trip to No. 6 Penn State at 4 p.m. Friday, followed by a neutral site match Sunday against No. 11 West Virginia.

Macario and Smith are among the seven returning players who finished among the top eight in scoring last season. That's reason enough to peg Stanford as the conference favorites and a team that could compete in the Women's College Cup, which will be played at Avaya Stadium in San Jose on Dec. 6 and 8.

Stanford showed it could play without Tierna Davidson, the Sacred Heart Prep grad who left school a year early to play professional and for the Women's World Cup champion.

Davidson suffered a season-ending injury early last season and the Cardinal still managed to make its eighth Final Four appearance since 2008, losing to eventual national champion Florida State.

A senior class that includes Ceci Gee, Beattie Goad, Sam Hiatt (who played her freshman season at Boston College), Carly Malatsky and Lauren Rood will be looking to end their Stanford careers with yet another Pac-12 title and a possible excursion to San Jose for a chance at their second NCAA title in three years.

Goad has appeared in 64 games, including 24 starts, for the Cardinal. Malatskey has seen action in 52 games and scored her first career goal in last year's NCAA tournament. Rood is 13-0 with nine shutouts as one of the team's goalies.

Among the other returning offensive leaders are junior Civana Kuhlman (seven goals, three assists, 17 points), junior Madison Haley (3-5-11), sophomore Abby Greubel (3-3-9) and sophomore Naomi Girma (2-4-8), who was named a TopDrawerSoccer Freshman Best XI first team pick.

Add junior Kiki Plunkett, an all-Pac-12 second team pick last season, redshirt junior Sam Tran, junior Belle Briede and junior Jojo Harber and it gives Stanford added experience and depth.

There's also sophomores Bianca Caetano-Ferrara and Maya Shetty and a highly-regarded group of freshmen ready to contribute.

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