When Stanford women's soccer coach Paul Ratcliffe is asked to describe a certain 5-foot-4 senior dynamo, he responds with a quartet of compliments.
“Hannah Farr is a winner and a fighter, an inspirational leader and a competitor like no other,” Ratcliffe says with a flourish.
Add in a heavy dose of toughness.
During the end of one of the first practices in mid-August, Stanford players began flying changes, a transition drill featuring repeated 3-on-2 breaks. Farr went for a 50-50 challenge with junior Laura Liedle. The result: She took an accidental elbow to her face and tumbled to the ground.
When Farr shook off the cobwebs, she realized she couldn't find her four front teeth.
“They'd been knocked into my mouth, but not out of my gum — they were at a really weird angle, pointing toward my throat,” Farr said. “If I tried to smile, it looked like I had no front teeth.”
The diagnosis: fractured jaw, displaced teeth, torn lip. Farr underwent surgery that very same day to re-set her jaw. A week later, she had four root canals and braces. There were stitches to sew up her jaw and lip. Asked how many it took, Farr responds, “A lot.”
But she didn't miss a day of practice, returning the very next day for noncontact drills. In fact, her only regret is that Ratcliffe didn't take a picture. Ratcliffe remembers her begging the doctor to clear her to play in the season opener at North Carolina. In the days running up to that match, Farr resumed full training.
Now seems a good time to reveal that Farr, a 2010 St. Ignatius High School grad, is the first athlete in Stanford history to play soccer and lacrosse. In her most recent season in the latter sport, she was named NorPac Conference Player of the Year.
When soccer season hits, though, Farr's attention is undivided. She relished the trip to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the opener. Never mind that the Tar Heels have been a notoriously tricky opponent for the Cardinal. Never mind her recent return from injury.
“I've played four years of different sports, so nothing intimidates me,” Farr said.
She played as a substitute as they Cardinals beat No. 4 North Carolina 1-0 and No. 18 Duke 2-0 that opening weekend.
Now the Cardinal are ranked fourth, and hold an 11-1-2 record heading into Thursday's match against Colorado. They didn't allow a goal until their 10th game, breaking the school record for a scoreless streak.
So, following Friday's 2-1 loss at No. 1 UCLA, Farr and her teammates didn't bristle. Stanford defeated USC 1-0 on Sunday. Farr scored the first goal of her collegiate career, crashing to stab home a volley after senior forward Chioma Ubogagu's shot was saved.
Hilltop hoops: The USF men's and women's basketball teams will feature in the third annual Hilltop HoopSFest on Saturday at 7 p.m. The event will feature introductions of the current teams, video presentations, shooting competitions and a dunk contest.
CCSF women's soccer rolling: The City College of San Francisco women's soccer team rides a five-match unbeaten streak (4-0-1) into today's road game at Foothill. With 10 points, the Rams are tied with Ohlone for the Coast Conference North Division lead.