Sports

Stanford men picked to win Pac-12 soccer title

 

The top-ranked Stanford men's soccer team was picked first in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, tallying 24 points and four first-place votes. The Cardinal also placed a league-best four on the All-Pac-12 preseason team in seniors Corey Baird, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Foster Langsdorf and Drew Skundrich.

The nation's most successful collegiate soccer program over the past three seasons, Stanford is 46-8-11 (.792) since 2014, has won back-to-back national championships and three consecutive Pac-12 titles.


Drew Skundrich
One of six programs to win back-to-back national championships and the first to do it in a dozen years, the Cardinal will attempt to become just the second program to win three straight NCAA titles (Virginia; 1991-94). Stanford, which returns nine of its 11 starters, including 100 percent of its goals scored and over 90 percent of its assists, will also enter the 2017 season with an active shutout streak of 548:29.

Stanford used a flurry of first-half goals to beat Portland in its first exhibition on Sunday, 3-0. Its final tune-up is at home on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Pacific. Admission to the exhibition is free and prior to the start the program will host a free youth clinic from 5-6 p.m. for those ages 5-12 on Maloney Field, directly behind the east side of Cagan Stadium adjacent to El Camino Real.

Baird was a 2016 All-Pac-12 first team selection as a junior and also landed on the College Cup All-Tournament Team. He was second on Stanford with 12 points on three goals and a team-leading six assists last season and with 23 career assists is already seventh in program history.

Stanford is the only school in the country returning multiple 2016 All-Americans this season in Hilliard-Arce and Langsdorf, who are both also on the watch list for the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy.

A 2016 MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Hilliard-Arce anchored a Cardinal defense that finished fourth nationally in goals against average (0.56) from his spot at center back. Stanford's goals against average tied for the second-best mark in program history and its 13 shutouts also tied for third in the country and were its most since 2000 (16). Also an All-Pac-12 first team selection, Hilliard-Arce was a set-piece threat and finished second on the team in goals (4) and fourth in points (10).

Langsdorf's career-high 15 goals as a junior tied for eighth in program history, were the most for a Cardinal since Willie Guicci had 22 in 1981 and the highest total in the Pac-12 since 2011. The management science and engineering major ended his 2016 campaign fourth nationally in total goals, 10th in goals per game (0.65) and led the country in game-winning goals (8). Last season, he was voted Co-Pac-12 Player of the Year and a second-team All-American.

Skundrich, serving as team co-captain for the second time, was second on the team goals (4) and third in points (11) in 2016. After starting all 23 games at right back during 2015's championship run, Skundrich moved to the central midfield and again started all 23 matches in 2016's title campaign. He was selected to both the NSCAA All-Far West Region second team and the All-Pac-12 second team and was also named NSCAA Scholar All-West Region.

— Stanford Athletics

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