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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “On a scoring drought, soccer heads to rival ASU”

    Sophomore forward London King, left, beats USCs Kelley Finch to the ball during Arizonas 0-0 double-overtime tie Sunday at Murphey Stadium. The Wildcats will try to break a 436-minute scoreless streak tomorrow at ASU
    Sophomore forward London King, left, beats USC’s Kelley Finch to the ball during Arizona’s 0-0 double-overtime tie Sunday at Murphey Stadium. The Wildcats will try to break a 436-minute scoreless streak tomorrow at ASU

    Consider that the Arizona soccer team has never beaten this weekend’s opponent.

    Then consider that that opponent is ASU. Motivation enough?

    And even though this year, its rivals to the north have a losing record, the Wildcats are going in claws out when they travel to Tempe to take on the Sun Devils (6-8-2, 1-5-0 Pacific 10 Conference) tomorrow at 7 p.m.

    “”I don’t think records indicate that much,”” said freshman forward Jasmine Namdar, who will experience the rivalry for the first time. “”It’s how you play on the field.””

    The thought was reflected by UA head coach Dan Tobias.

    “”It’s the rivalry game, you throw out old clichés,”” he said. “”(But) it’s all how you perform on the day.””

    But Tobias did acknowledge that the matchup with the Sun Devils would provide some extra fire.

    “”Because it’s a rivalry game, it is going to be a good battle, no question,”” he said. “”Extra sliding to win the ball, tackles.””

    Arizona (8-7-2, 1-3-2) will need that extra fire, as the team hasn’t scored in more than 350 minutes, a streak spanning four games – three of which were shutouts – and dating back to a 1-1 tie Oct. 13 at California.

    But even that goal was put into her own net by a Cal player. To find the last time a Wildcat put one home, you’d have to go back 436 minutes to an Oct. 8, 2-0 win over Oregon State, when sophomore forward Gianna DeSaverio, the team’s leading scorer with six goals, notched a marker at the 53:56 mark of the second half.

    “”We’ve been creating very good chances,”” Tobias said. “”As long as we continue to do that, we will start scoring.””

    Chances like redshirt freshman midfielder Christina Hughes’ shot that ricocheted off the crossbar against UCLA Oct. 20 before bouncing off the back of Bruin goalie Valerie Henderson and coming to a rest just ahead of the goal line.

    It’s the closest Arizona’s been since DeSaverio’s goal.

    And Arizona doesn’t look to get much of a break, as tomorrow’s contest is shaping up to be a matchup between two stellar goalkeepers. Both ASU’s Kim Bingham who ranks second in the Pac-10 with 75 saves, and

    Arizona’s Chelsea McIntyre, who tops the conference with 97 saves, aren’t easy to score on.

    “”We need to put goals in the back of the net,”” McIntyre said.

    Add to the offensive drought the fact that ASU is 10-0-1 all-time against Arizona, and Tobias has all the makings of a motivation-rich environment.

    The young Wildcat squad goes into Sparky territory ready to take on the large crowd that usually spits anything but a compliment in their direction.

    “”Their fans are going to fire me up …(by) talking mess, ragging on us,”” said sophomore forward London King, who said that last year, she heard comments referencing her mom.

    But Tobias feels that the crowd won’t affect his team – not even the freshmen – saying that they have had past experiences with big crowds this year on the road at Brigham Young in front of 3,606 fans and at home against Portland, when the team drew a record 1,010 fans.

    Besides, Tobias said, they won’t all be cheering for ASU.

    “”We have such a good support group of family and friends that follow us,”” he said.

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