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Discussion in 'Women's College' started by cachundo, Jan 8, 2011.
so are those two not there at all? injured? playing for mexico at this time?
First, relax -- it's Spring. This is not the sport's primary competitive season, as you know. You and others have asked questions about missing players. TN is on leave from Stanford; that's why she has seen no spring action at all. She's not eligible. She is attending every camp held by the full Mexican National Team and would have missed too much school to carry a courseload. AG is attending about half of the camps, so she is in school and can play. RQ and CV are recovering from injuries. If players are not 100% in the spring, they simply don't play. Spring is a time to get healthy and fit for the fall. So, coaches don't play injured or recovering players.
As has also been pointed out, MN, CL and EO have all attended US U23 or U20 camps. Depending upon their training load, sometimes a player or two will be held out of a match. Nobody is trying to "change anyone's DNA" by not allowing players to play.
One more note -- the Stanford women have spending more time in the weight room and working incredibly hard on their fitness this spring -- with no time to taper before games. Some of what you're seeing on the field is new players trying to show they have what it takes to win a spot in the fall. But some is also really tired legs. I'm sure the coaches are hoping that all that fitness now, over the summer and in pre-season training camp will result in big wins this December.
All that said, no one is making excuses. I'm sure the players want to win every game and losses always hurt. In addition, as you said, playing this fall without the past two Hermann Trophy winners and all those goals will be a significant challenge. But every school loses its seniors and brings in freshman every season, and it will be up to the 2011 Stanford team to try to build on the successes the program has achieved these past three years and once again play for the national title in Georgia in December.
Interesting insights from gostanford.com:
Five Questions Facing Stanford Women's Soccer
1. Can Stanford get over the hump?
Unless Stanford gets major contributions from its freshman class this year, I don't think so. While they only lost two starters, one was an important role player and one was the NCAA's leading scorer. Not easy to replace, unless...
2. Where will Courtney Verloo play?
...unless Verloo turns into Press. Or at least builds on the promise she showed during her freshman year as a forward. Verloo + a good season from LT could be the cornerstones of a good offense.
3. Where will the goals come from?
See above. I'm curious to see if we have any freshmen up to the task as well.
4. Is Emily Oliver for real?
She's real good at making saves. That's for sure. Without EO, the final would have been a massacre. As for other aspects of her game (e.g., improvable goal kicks, footwork, etc.) I'm sure she has the drive to get better.
5. Will the World Cup help or hurt Stanford?
I'd say it can only have helped Stanford's World Cup players to have played at that level.
(I don't know what's going on with Big Soccer. It won't take my post except for the first line. I tried three times....) I'll try to embed it below.
"...the real question is: Does it [the team] have the mentality to win?
If nothing else, Stanford has discovered that in these matches, skill may take a backseat to grinding, physical soccer. Can the Cardinal adjust, outwork, and outlast when the situation arises? "
Very provocative article -question #1 (quoted above) specifically. While the other 4 questions strike me as the usual fodder for pre-season publicity pieces from a SID promoting fan interest, question #1 is a very bold move for an in-house writer.
Assuming that this article was reviewed and approved before it was put up on the Stanford women's soccer web page, I am very impressed with the honest and open direction they are taking. It's almost as though they are entering the debate as fans, not as employees whose job it is to promote the team. Specifically, this could be seen as a slap at Ratcliffe's preparation of the team, or a poke at the team culture, or perhaps a motivational ploy to get the players fired up. For most teams this would be handled discretely in-house.
That said, I personally think that this team has the potential to take it all. Certainly the talent has been assembled and except for a single game each year nobody questions the coaching. I think that it's unfair to question a team that, by any reasonable standard has been wildly successful. That's what fans do. But SIDs?
Does the winningest team in college soccer the last two years have the mentality to win? On its face that is simply a stupid question.
Do they have what it takes to win it all? On paper, certainly. But what does that mean? Nothing. That's why they play the games.
Where will the goals come from?
Ubogagu is a dynamic and intelligent player and fast. If they can toughen her up from the start she will have 12-18 goals, she also is creative. She can be had with physical play, which should not be a problem half way thru the season or soph year. Doll, smart, good ball striker and probably a little tougher.
What will the starting lineup look like on Friday?
Nice article on gostanford.com that pretty much echoes my thoughts about the team.
Women's Soccer Outlook: One More Step
My probable lineup:
[LINEUP-4-3-3]Verloo, LT, Chioma, Doll, T, Mariah, Cami, Alina, Kendall, Quon, Emily[/LINEUP-4-3-3]
I’ve penciled in Kendall to partner with Alina, Quon at RB, Cami will crush any pretenders at LB.
Midfield will be the usual suspects + Doll. It will be interesting to see how much Doll will be involved with the attack, since Rat likes the idea of having two d-mids clogging the middle. The idea has always been to clog the middle, force the ball-carrier against the touchline and the fullbacks, and help will come from the ball-side mid or winger. There are very few opponents in the college game that can break you down from the flanks, but the Card were exposed numerous times against inferior opposition down the left. Cami will tighten it up over there.
There will be chemistry issues up top, since none of them have played together in attack. Before Verloo was deployed in the back, she would be the sub for LT. For all of the buttering up for Verloo, LT is the real X-factor. She moves very well without the ball, finds the space to run to after a winger breaks down the defense. In terms of accuracy, no one comes close to LT; O’Hara is just a close second. However, LT’s not as effective when given the ball 20 yards from goal, or as a winger, and asked to break down the defense on the dribble. 7/10 times she will lose the ball and unable or unwilling to link up with another attacker. Someone else has to break down the defense and center a pass to LT who will always find the space. Rat needs to be patient with her because it’s acceptable that she not touch the ball for 89 minutes, because she will find that scoring chance in the 90th.
For Verloo to be an effective attacker, she needs to develop a better first touch and play big for someone her size. During her first season, her first touch was shockingly atrocious for someone with such a heralded pedigree. She was constantly outmuscled by smaller defenders with playing with her back to goal. Her accuracy was not reliable; I have serious misgiving about all this talk about her as striker. Verloo plays very well in the hole between the defenders and mids, and likes to check back to the ball in the hole where she can face up to the goal and explore her options. Her dribbling skills can be better utilized in the wings; against most opposition, she will attack better than the fullback can defend.
Haven’t seen Chioma play, but much like last year’s rookie, Chi will play until she plays her way out of the lineup.
From the article, it seems like a bigger issue is leadership. O’Hara and Press were strong-willed on the field and their competitiveness rubbed of on their teammates. Unless one or two players assume the leadership role and the responsibilities that go with it, going all the way may seem more like a pipe dream.
Penn St. will be a good test on Friday. Pacific on Sunday will also be a good test. In the spring, a Pacific team of nobodies outplayed Stanford. Sure, several names were unavailable, but still, it was against a team of nobodies and everyone needed to step up. Interesting weekend matches, haven’t had a home opener this early before.
Thanks for your insights Cachundo!
Painful memories linger in my mind. I still remember sitting in front of a Palo Alto's Old Pro Sports Bar TV, watching in horror as two consecutive coaching-induced meltdowns in national finals led to abject failure and total heartbreak. I barely remember what happened after those games, each one followed by a long sorrow-drowning afternoon and one huge Old Pro tab. I also witnessed some of the spring fiasco a few months ago, so my hopes for this season were a bit tempered as I drove to Cagan Field. In fact, if the opponent hadn't been a heralded team like Penn State, I may have checked out the Broncos season-opener instead, since several of my former players were scheduled to be on the SC and SJSU sides. The prospect of watching higher quality soccer won out, but I was still upset with spring season's letdown and pretty pessimistic about 2011 Cardinal soccer.
Cagan has a much more stadium-like feel to it. Very nice, but why were the new bleachers off-limits to the fans? Beautiful night, perfect conditions and a large and energetic crowd. PR presented his traditional 4-3-3 formation, which wasn't a big surprise. What did surprise me and had me going "oh no, oh no" before the game even started was seeing CV in crutches and EO also sidelined. That, and the first 30 minutes of the game, seemed to validate my pre-season pessimism and made the Cardinal football players sitting next to me a little grumpy too. During the first part of the match, the Nittany Cats forced Stanford's hand with an impressive and aggressive high press that took the Cardinal out of its comfort zone. I was starting to wonder. But towards the end of the first half, led by the indefatiguable CL, the skies parted and Cardinal soccer appeared grandly on beautiful Cagan Field. MN's header off a laser-pointed CV cross and LT's rocket off the keeper's chest took the steam out of Penn State and a soccer of the highest quality emerged for 15 magical minutes, sealed by TN's combination-based goal. The Cardinal would rule the night with pace, composure, skill and vision. More importantly, and unlike their ugly spring season, the players seem committed to emerge from the KO-CP shadows, play outstanding association soccer and win as a true collective.
Bright green lights to CL and the two starting freshmen, KR and CO. CL was the team's sparkplug, playing in her most natural position. She was, hands down, the star of the night as the best defender of the team and a fantastic offensive outlet. KR made some silly mistakes early but showed incredible composure and vision. CO is the most skilled and intelligent forward I have seen in a long time. I make three predictions: First, by the end of the season CL will be recognized as the best outside back in Stanford history, better even than AR and RQ. Second, by the end of the season KR will be recongnized as the best CB in Stanford history, overtaking AG. Third, by the end of her career CO will be recognized as the best forward in Stanford history, even better that KO and CP. KR and CO seem to have really high ceilings, which proves that PR may be a lousy tactician in crunch time, but gosh does he have an eye for talent and early season strategeries.
First half yellow lights and second half green lights to MN, TN and LT. It took them some time to tune their engines, which was disappointing to see given their experience, but once MN and TN revved up, they played Penn State like a fiddle, with almost perfect coordination, cadence and technical adroitness. MN showed off her heading prowess and TN her brainy off-ball movement in their respective goals. Their play-making combinations and superlative game management in the second half completely broke down a good Penn State midfield. LT was quiet during the first 45 minutes and looked somewhat weak and slow, which was also disappointing to see, but her zigzagging run on the second goal showed her at her deadly best. Penn State's trainer probably spent some time untwisting the backs of the defenders after the game.
Yellow lights to LD, AG, RQ, CZ, AD, MHG and SP. In the back, things were off an on. LD was pretty sure handed, but she almost blew it twice in the first half, first on a screamer off a weak shot that hit the crossbar and then with a horrible goal kick. I hope she can hold the fort until EO returns, we'll see. RQ was obviously playing on her weaker side, but she is sooooo much better than AC, who did quite well as an impact sub instead. In the middle, the biggest unanswered tactical question is who the third midfielder will be. CZ and AD both are also sooooo much better than AM, who hurt the flow of the midfield so significantly all of last year, but I'm not sure that the heir to the world's best-ball-winner-and-worst-play-maker has yet emerged. CZ is a bundle of uncontrolled energy, while AD is still too deliberate and slow-paced. The former needs to take a Valium before each game and the latter five Red Bulls. PR may eventually resort to multipurpose CL to fill that critical gap, which may explain why AC got some solid minutes last night. I hope CZ and/or AD eventually rise to the task so the backline doesn't have to be tinkered with. In the top, MHG and SP had their ups and downs, and I hope they improve their efficiency with each game, but I see both of them more as impact subs. Of course, this means that CV would have to get back in the mix.
Finally, soft green lights to the second half subs. Good energy from all. NW and AC seemed particularly comfortable with the speed of play and look more than ready to play as impact subs.
All in all, a surprisingly entertaining and successful night. Maybe I drank the "if-it-didn't-happen-with-KO-and-CP-it-ain't-ever-gonna-happen" kool-aide a little too early. Obviously, there is room for substantial improvement, but the overall quality of this team is undeniable. Their collective soccer IQ may be the highest ever and, paradoxically, not having the freakishly effective but energy-draining and unidimensional KO and CP may actually produce a more attractive team which, at least last night, was just as effective too. So I left Cagan cautiously more optimistic than when I arrived. The question is: Was this performance a one-time wonder or the real deal? And eventually the PR factor will come into play: Come crunch time, will he hold true to his early season instincts or will he freak out again?
Who are CO and CZ?
How did CN (#10) from Penn State do?
Probably Co = Chioma and CZ = Kristy based on the context.
Stanford 4 – 0 Penn St.
On a beautiful night down at the Farm, the Card slaughtered the visiting Lions with a clinical display in H2.
Both teams seemed to still be sorting themselves out in H1, not at all surprising since it was the 1st game of the season for both teams. The Card diesel took a very long time to warm up, unforced flawed touches and giveaways everywhere. With less than a minute left, Mariah did what she does best – a powerful headed goal, assisted by Cami. The build-up to that goal took about 30 seconds, right after the PA system announced that there was a minute left. Everyone rushed forward, until only Quon was left behind the center stripe, otherwise there would have been no tripwire to make an offside call against the opponent. I muttered under my breath that the uber-conservative Rat’s unorthodox [for him] gambit would produce only two results – that we score a goal or they score on the counter just before HT. Luckily for us, of the six redshirts inside the box, it found Mariah’s head. Good guys up by a goal.
A minute into H2, LT scored the 2nd goal with a couple of cutback moves to juke the 2 defenders. Why she had to do that when she was already behind the defense is a mystery to me, but it still ended with a goal.
The opponent seemed to be stunned with what just happened, two quick goals just before & after HT. It didn’t help that now the Card diesel was purring like a turbodiesel, one-touch crisp passing all over the field and the opponent had to chase the ball as they needed to chase the score and the game at this point.
T scored the 3rd goal after Chioma’s errant through-ball was passed straight to an opponent, but the opponent’s touch was flawed, T ghosted in on the loose ball with no one but the GK to beat. Easy pickings. Chioma actually should have made the through-ball a couple of seconds before as T was surging forward; with more experience and familiarity with her teammates, she will get it right.
Marjani scored the 4th goal after Alina headed in a CK that bounced her way. Marjani created the CK after she had a scoring opportunity that the GK saved. She was a step ahead of the last defender, who has holding a fistful of red jersey, making the number 27 look like a 21. C’mon Kari Seitz and Nunez, I realize that the home team is cruising, but you’re supposed to be the best in your profession for a reason. Even if the home team is up by 3 goals, call a DOGSO-F for what it is.
Lots of ticky-tacky fouls from the opponent, but Mariah gets the only caution of the match. When LT’s heels gets clipped for the 5th time by a 5th different player, isn’t that persistent infringment? Technically, the opponent commited numerous needless fouls due to poor positioning and just plain bad touches to give the ball away.
You could see the difference in technique between the two teams even after Rat lifted 10 starters. The newbs knew what to do with the ball, played within the system and adhered to the style of play, forcing the opponent to chase & commit fouls. You know even the visiting parents are frustrated when they say stuff such as: "C'mon girls, get in the game", or "Do something, they're just passing the ball around and toying with us".
Everyone who was healthy got to play, except for 2 newbs, Emily, & Verloo. From what I was told, Emily’s prognosis seems to be better than Verloo’s. it takes time to heal from knee injuries. All the best to Court & hoping to come back stronger and faster next season.
True to form, Rat prefers to play with a 2nd defensive-minded mid and picked Kristy for the task. I always liked her, but as wowow pointed out, a bit too helter-skelter to patient, disciplined play. To me, Kristy’s always just one ankle-busting tackle to a send-off. Kristy had the inside track to partner with Alina last year but she just wasn’t technically clean and solid. I’m glad that this year, Rat recognized that Kristy’s Ritalin-induced style of play can be beneficial to the midfield. She has enormous range and the indefatigable running that’s required of the position, so all the best to her in her senior season.
Kendall is decent, but I’d wait to anoint her as the best defender ever until she graduates and/or plays the rover position or stopper as some would call it. Right now, Alina plays that position, as did Marisa before her, as did Buehler before Marisa [Buehler, hmmmmm . . . . . that name sounds familiar, isn’t she in that national team?], as did Hayley before Buehler, as Spilger did before Hayley, as Sauer did before Spilger, and so on and so forth. Playing rover entails making split-second decisions and taking enormous risks, risking cautions, yielding unfavorable dead-ball situations, and/or missing the tackle on the attacker.
LT checked back too much for my comfort in H1, but her linemates didn’t offer much in terms of movement, and someone had to play the hole, and she was up to the task. Sydney picked up where she left off last year, which really doesn’t say much. I admire wowow’s prognostication of Chioma and wish his outlandish projections would come true. I remember KO’s first home game against Tennessee and she single-handedly pestered the opponent, best player on either team even if it ended in a loss. I remember Press’ 1st game against Notre Dame at Santa Clara, with that bandaged hand hiding a 5-lb. dumbell Press only had 2 moves back then, but she did them well. Chioma seems to have decent straight-line speed, but I have yet to see anyone in a Stanford uniform move faster with the ball at her feet than O’Hara. Press got to where she was because I’ve never seen anyone work so hard to make herself better – Press came in with a reputation as just a shooter but left holding numerous Stanford records because she became an offensive catalyst and just like O’Hara made her teammates better. Hope you’re right that Chioma is all that and more.
A good start to the season. With that 1st win under their belt, here’s hoping to a complete performance against Pacific.
Wowow, KR plays her first game in a Cardinal uniform. First half you say she made silly mistakes and by the end of the game you want to crown her the best CB in Cardinal history. Really? Kind of hard to take you seriously after one preseason game.
Stanford hosted a handful of sporting events and Cardinal soccer attracted another large, albeit more mellow crowd. But even the most Marinesque fans had to jump out of their seats five times during the game. After a weekend fending off a couple of big cats, the Cardinal should be happy. It took the team two games to answer the "Can-they-score-this-year?" question. At this rate, even the GK will tally points. Today's game against the Tigers wasn't nearly as attractive as the match vs. Penn State, a vastly superior opponent. The tactical decisions adopted by Pacific's coach had something to do with this and the game was a little boring to watch at times, but credit Pacific for trying their best to disrupt the Cardinal with a disciplined strategy based on a combination of man-marks and zone coverage. The strategy seemed to hold some promise after the Tigers' first goal, which began with horrible Cardinal defending and concluded with a great individual finish. I liked the Cardinal's reaction after taking it in the chin early in the game, and the five goals were very cool. CL's bookends were first class, especially her second unassisted golazo. CO's finishes were precision strikes, especially her second one off TN's Xaviesque threaded pass. And LT proved why she should be inside the box as much as possible, putting away a perfect CL cross with a superb one-touch volley.
The prolific weekend does not mean all is honky dory. The two goals allowed today to a hard-working but offensively limited team were unsettling. Pacific earned them, but AG and KR still treat each other as acquaintances when they should be best friends. Also, the midfield barely showed up. MN's touch was way off (in weight and timing) and TN was MIA. CZ had to do carry a lot of the midfield load and that is a bit too risky for my taste.
Green lights to CL, CO, LT, all three multiple goal scorers this weekend, RQ and LD. CL is emerging as this year's AR, with the double bonus of being a scoring threat and a much more technically gifted outside back: A joy to watch. CO made me look good and hardened my opinion of her potential as one of the best ever: Technical, tactical and deadly. LT turned up her game a big notch and complemented her usual efficient finishing with unusual efficient movement and accurate passing: Lots of fun. RQ quietly performed a perfect waltz: Simple and efficient. And even though she didn't have a clean slate, LD played better than Friday, with greater confidence and efficiency.
Yellow lights to rest of the crew. Besides her touch being off, MN was plagued with slow decision-making. Still, she is the foundational rock of this team and her injury may be devastating if it is of any consequence. NW is a solid player, but she would have big shoes to fill if MN goes down for any signinficant amount of time. And AD isn't strong enough to carry that load. TN had a big stinker. She did have that one moment of inspirational playmaking on CO's goal, which earned her the yellow light, but she was so static and far from the ball that she gradually became invisible. KZ was up to the task after TN performed her disappearing act, but her technical inconsistency made me gasp one too many times. AG and KR really do need to spend time together. Is it me or is AG slower than ever? And KR made me look bad with really sloppy play and awkward timing. I still think she has a huge ceiling though. MHG and SyP were ok, just ok. And in the long haul, that isn't going to be good enough. The rest of the subbie crew (AG, MT, AC, LS, LL, TM, ShP, NG) did well enough to manage the end of the game but didn't play enough minutes to affect the tempo or outcome of the match.
Good luck to the team as they travel to DC to battle two formidable opponents in Maryland and Georgetown. I hope the trip continues to harden and solidify this attractive team, and I look forward to seeing them play again in a couple of weeks.
Stanford 5 – 2 Pacific
The Card mauled the visiting Tigers with 5 goals on a gorgeous afternoon down at the Farm.
The visitors scored first. Very poor marking on an innocuous run at the top of the box.
The last few seasons, Pacific would man-mark 6 attackers & play with 1 sweeper. Today was no different. Movement from the players was the key to break them down, the key was to let loose with Quon & Cami – who did their part with dangerous runs down the flanks to bend them out of shape. After the game, I asked a parent why Pacific would persist with their tactic even though they were already down by a couple of goals. He thought that perhaps their coaching staff thought it was the difference between a 5-2 loss and a 9-2 loss.
Pacific scored another bad goal with another poor defensive effort. Wowow’s current best defender ever and future best defender ever need to do a better job of playing with/off each other.
Still, scoring 5 goals on a day’s rest is good. Lots of tired legs out there and it was good to see everyone who was healthy got to play. LT’s goal shows why she’s at her best finding space from inside the PA. I thought LT & Cami had a great game, & sometimes these efforts are reflected on the scoreboard.
All the best to the team as they head east next weekend.
With two games under their belt, Stanford has shown that the core of their 2010 second-place team still knows how to move the ball around. Their possession game is excellent as expected. CO has been a pleasant surprise. However, PR isn't getting much performance in a few positions on the field and it will be interesting to see if he makes adjustments over the course of the preseason. Maryland might provide a good test this weekend or this trip might provide the illusion that everything is fine. An illusion that Notre Dame and/or Portland are likely to snap.
Too pessimistic? Remember that this team is trying to bring home its first College Cup championship. Mediocrity anywhere on the field is not going to get the job done.
Allowing two goals to a subpar local opponent and a victory over a mediocre East Coast team do not impress me (Big East champs or not, Penn St. was eliminated in the second round by West Virginia last year so let's not overstate their accomplishments). We should be happy that the team did what it was supposed to do: win. But if PR wants to hoist the trophy, he's got work to do.
It's the first week of the season. I'd say there is time.
THis is a disturbing trend. If CO is Chioma, it seems it should be CU.
But beyond that, if the rest of us fans are to follow along (some of us are actually interested) we shouldn't have to have a key for each team to figure it out.
Just type the 3 or 4 extra letters to identify a player- at least the first time.
Or you could just follow the rest of us and skip wowow's posts. Using initials is annoying even for readers who can name all the players. Outside a few star players the reader has to stop and translate. Giving me flashbacks of beginning Spanish in high school. Outside a few words such as taco and burrito I'd listen in Spanish, translate to English, think of a response in English, and then translate the response to Spanish. A foreign language was required in high school. Learning wowow's code isn't required for enjoying BigSoccer.
Sorry to backtrack. just found this thread. I was at the Penn State game. Incredible! I haven't been to a game since Kelley O'Hara. Stoked to watch more this year and reacquaint myself with this badass team. Couple things that stood out for my first impression...a)I simply love Stanford's style! (although I already knew that. haha) b)Mariah Nogueira is a beast c)Chioma seems an exciting one to watch. raw...possible future impact player d)Camille Levin, on that night, couldn't be beat and couldn't be stopped. So far, my fave! Can't wait for more games!
Maybe wowow can just give us a glossary of terms
Game against UMD tomorrow if weather permits. We will see if Maryland is ready to play with the top programs this year. I think Stanford is such a complete team that it will overwhelm Terps defense. Offensively, it will be interesting to see how legit Terps offensive talents are.