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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer practice heats up

    During the Arizona women’s soccer practice yesterday at Murphey Stadium, the place to be, if you were not on the field, was in a narrow patch of shade from a palm tree on the west end of the field – the only solace to the 100 degree temperatures on the field.

    For the first day since opening preseason practice last Monday, the team moved practice to mid-afternoon (3-5 p.m.) instead of the late afternoon (5-7 p.m.) time they had become accustomed to.

    Senior captain Claire Bodiya said the strong heat had a noticeable effect on the players.

    Yesterday “”was our first day in the heat, so things were a little slower,”” she said. “”Five to seven is usually hot, but it’s a big difference. Usually when we come at five, there’s some cloud cover. Today, there was none.

    “”Today wasn’t bad, but we can play a lot quicker, I know.””

    Despite yesterday’s brutal weather, head coach Dan Tobias said his team’s preseason practices are going just as he has hoped.

    “”Preseason is going great,”” Tobias said. “”We always talk about goals as far as preseason, the home opener, and then week-by-week through nonconference play, Pac-10 play and, finally, the NCAA playoffs. I think if these first days are any indication (of our progress), we’re right on schedule.””

    The only bad news the Wildcats have encountered thus far is the loss of their two most experience goaltenders.

    Junior McCall Smith, who missed all of last season with a degenerative condition in her left knee, is still unable to compete. While Smith is still a member of the team, corrective surgery would keep her sidelined for 14-18 months.

    Last year’s starter in the net, junior Chelsea McIntyre, tore her anterior cruciate ligament during the preseason. It is uncertain whether she’ll be back for this season.

    “”She has seen some of her teammates come back from the same injury, so she knows the path she has to take and she knows it takes time,”” Tobias said. “”She’s handling it great.””

    Junior Devon Wharf and sophomore Danielle Nikoli will take over goalkeeping in the meantime. Both girls have been impressive in the preseason, Tobias said, with Wharf slightly ahead due to more experience.

    “”That’s something Danielle is going to gain through time,”” Tobias said. “”So, (Devon) has positioned herself really nicely and has put herself in good position to be that No. 1.””

    The Wildcats are optimistic about their lineup as a whole. Bodiya said she is impressed at the level of competition within the team.

    “”We have 29 girls this year, and the competition is unbelievable,”” she said. “”The coaches told us the lineup changes hour by hour.

    “”We have so many good players, our bench isn’t only going to be strong, but our starting lineup is going to be amazing.””

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