Noyola, Garciamendez help Mexico to its finest World Cup performance

What did you do this summer?

For ALINA GARCIAMENDEZ and TERESA NOYOLA, the answer was: Play in the World Cup.

After helping the Mexican national team to its best-ever Cup performance (two draws in three matches), Garciamendez and Noyola have returned to Stanford for fall workouts.  The Cardinal’s opener against Penn State takes place Aug. 19 at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.

“Playing at the highest level gets me really ready for the college game, just knowing I can play at the level,” said Noyola, a two-time first-team All-America midfielder entering her senior year.

Garciamendez started all three matches in central defense in Germany and was one of only four Mexican players to play all 270 minutes.

Noyola came off the bench against England (1-1) and Japan (0-4). Mexico, which had never gained a World Cup point before, also drew with New Zealand and former Stanford teammate Ali Riley, 2-2.

The best part for Garciamendez?

“The whole environment, the stadium, the fans,” said the Stanford captain. “I never expected such great crowds. Soccer-wise, the games were top-notch, high speed. Everything was amazing.

“It was everything I dreamt it would be. Maybe even better, because I was actually living it.”

Stanford should benefit from their experiences. Noyola said she has learned to train more efficiently and is “more geared toward how I need it to be.”

Garciamendez said the pace of the international game has helped her.

“Just the sense of urgency on the field, that mentality of bringing your A-game every single game,” she said. “Everything is super fast. At the college level, it might be a little slower.”

Read the full story on the Athletics website.