The Stanford men’s soccer team finished up its schedule of preseason friendlies last Saturday, tallying two victories. The squad opened with a 1-0 victory over the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners before continuing with a 3-1 victory over the St. Mary’s Gaels.
The latter victory featured some exciting performances by some players who will be expected to feature in the upcoming season as Stanford looks to make some inroads into a very top-heavy Pac-12 conference. Junior midfielder Slater Meehan notched two assists during the day’s play, setting up sophomore forward Jordan Morris and senior forward Zach Batteer for their goals. Junior midfielder Eric Verso added the final goal of the evening. The Cardinal will be happy with their performance, especially their show of resilience in coming back from a goal down against the Gaels. Coach Jeremy Gunn noted the need for tough preseason matches, saying that, “it is much better to have questions asked of you now so you can answer them when the season comes.”
The preseason bodes well for the Cardinal, who will look to improve upon last year’s 10-7-3 record, which culminated in a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal will be led by Morris, who recently received the honor of a call-up to the US Men’s National Team for its upcoming friendly against the Czech Republic, and return other key supporting players including Batteer, who scored 9 goals last season, junior defender Brandon Vincent and junior midfielder Ty Thompson, who notched four assists in 2013-2014. The losses of JJ Koval, now of the San Jose Earthquakes, and goalkeeper Drew Hutchins will hurt. However, the Cardinal have brought in a highly-touted recruiting class and will look to exert some influence in the coming season over the fate of the Pac-12, commonly thought to be one of the best conferences in the country.
As the dawn of the games that count in the standings approaches, with the season opener against Creighton on Friday, Stanford’s preseason sends the message that this is a team not to be taken lightly.
Contact Dylan Fugel at dfugel ‘at’ stanford.edu.