PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) – The Stanford women’s soccer team continues to climb in the national rankings after a perfect start to the 2022 season.

The Cardinal came in at No. 6 in the latest United States Soccer Coaches Top 25 NCAA DI women’s rankings released on Tuesday. They were previously No. 12.

Stanford holds a 5-0 record as they head on the road to Chicago for a pair of non-conference contests this week.

The Cardinal defeated Cal Poly 4-1 on the farm on Sunday, and on Thursday they shut out Penn State 2-0. The Nittany Lions were ranked 8th nationally at the time of the game, marking the first time Stanford has beaten a top-10 opponent since 2019.

Through Stanford’s first five games, four players have notched a brace. Freshman midfielder Allie Montoya scored twice in the Penn State game. 

Lumi Kostmayer, Amy Sayer and Samantha Williams each have a brace as well.

“This year we have a lot of depth in the squad which I’ve been really pleasantly surprised about,” said Head Coach Paul Ratcliffe. “We make substitutions, and the level can actually increase with the energy level and the competitiveness of the players coming in. So it’s a great thing to have, a great luxury to have.”

Ratcliffe knows that it takes a deep squad to win a national championship. He says every year teams run into injuries throughout the 20-game regular season plus postseason, and talent beyond the starting eleven can prove to be critical.

Stanford senior captain Maya Doms is another facilitator of the Cardinal attack as she looks to follow an outstanding junior campaign. Doms led the team with 25 points on her way to earning All-America Third Team, All-Region First Team and PAC-12 First Team Honors. Doms has two goals and one assist through the first five games. 

On defense, senior captains Kennedy Wesley and Paige Rubenstein are setting the standard for a back line that’s only given up two goals on the season.

“We want to play good soccer, be fierce competitors, work together, have really good chemistry and culture,” said Rubenstein. “Every time we step out on the field making a statement and being the best we can be on the field.”

The last six months have been a roller coaster for this Stanford team since former goalkeeper Katie Meyer took her own life back in February.

The players say top of mind this season is displaying the resilience that Meyer lived out every day.

They hope to make her proud as they try to bring home the program’s third NCAA title in six years to the farm.

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“We are playing this season for her. Obviously her spirit, her energy, her fire,” said Wesley. “She was the face of our team, and we just want to honor that and do that to the best of our ability. At the end of the day, we’re doing this for her.”

Stanford faces Depaul and Northwestern later this week. The Cardinal open PAC-12 Conference play on September 23rd at USC, which they know will be especially difficult. Four teams in the conference are ranked in the top 25, including No.1 UCLA.