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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Soccer team’s season mirrors last year’s

    At the beginning of the season, it was looking more like a rebuilding year for the Arizona soccer team.

    The Wildcats lost not only starting junior goalie McCall Smith to injury, but also her backup, sophomore Devon Wharf.

    There was no clear replacement for leading scorer Mallory Miller – the heart and soul of the 2005 team – and the Wildcats had no seniors.

    A cynic would have counted Arizona out, but even with all the setbacks, the team is sitting in a similar position to last year.

    On the foot of Miller last season, the soccer team found its magic, getting as far in the NCAA Tournament as it ever has before losing in the Sweet Sixteen to eventual champion Portland.

    Now, as the team enters its last home stand of the season this weekend, the competition is only getting tougher.

    As UA head coach Dan Tobias so aptly put it, “”This is Pac(ific)10 (Conference) soccer. It’s nasty.””

    Although the Wildcats were shut out by No. 22 Stanford this past weekend, they have held their own with ranked competition, tying No. 28 California, losing by one goal to No. 17 Brigham Young in an aggressive game and putting up their best-ever showing against No. 5 Portland, losing 2-0.

    At this time last season, the Wildcats were 8-4-2. The 2006 squad goes into its last home games this weekend with an 8-6-1 record, not too far off from last season’s pace.

    Tobias said he tries not to compare last year’s team to this year’s.

    “”I asked the team to not do it, and I try not to do it,”” he said. “”I like this group. It’s a talented group.””

    At the beginning of the season, sophomore forward Gianna DeSaverio said that her goal this season was to win the Pac-10, as she felt that the team has enough talent and skill to do it.

    “”It’s a lot different from last year,”” DeSaverio said. “”It’s a different team, personnel and spirit.””

    Now, Tobias said that putting together a full game is the Wildcats’ biggest obstacle.

    “”We need to work on our consistency,”” he said. “”We still feel like our best 90 minutes is ahead of us.””

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