On Monday, the Pac-12 released the 2021 spring season schedule for women’s soccer, set to start on Feb. 26 against Oregon. Stanford will play 12 conference matches, 11 of which will count toward the Pac-12 standings, closing out against Berkeley on April 16. Stanford also has the opportunity to schedule up to four non-conference matches, although none have been announced thus far.
Pending Santa Clara County guidelines, the Cardinal will play a majority of their games in March and April. Notable matches will take place back-to-back on April 9 and 11 against USC and UCLA, respectively.
Stanford played USC once in their 2019 fall season, ending in a narrow 3-2 victory. The Cardinal out-shot USC 26-6, with major efforts coming in from senior forward Catarina Macario, who notably won’t be involved this season. Stanford is 8-2 in their last 10 matches with USC and hopes to extend their win streak to a fourth season.
The Cardinal played UCLA twice last season, winning both times, 1-0 and 4-0. In their second game, then sophomore forward Sophia Smith, now with Portland Thorns FC, scored a hat trick putting the team through to the College Cup finals.
Other noteworthy matches include Oregon State on March 26, who Stanford beat 2-0 last season, and Arizona State on April 4, over whom the Cardinal most recently secured a 3-0 win.
Due to a one-time NCAA COVID-related waiver, the reigning NCAA and Pac-12 champions will also have returning All-Americans and first-round draft picks seniors Madison Haley and Kiki Pickett, key players for a successful season. Other notable players to watch out for include sophomore midfielder Maya Doms, who scored the only goal against UCLA in Stanford’s 1-0 victory, and All-American junior defender Naomi Girma.
Seniors making the roster this season include Belle Briede, Haley, Jojo Harber and Pickett. Leading the team for his 18th season, Paul Ratcliffe also recently became the winningest coach in all of women’s soccer with a record of 320-52-29, and led the Cardinal to a 11-0-0 conference record in 2019.
The full schedule can be found here.
Contact Jenna Ruzekowicz at jennaruzekowicz ‘at’ gmail.com.