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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer swept as luck runs out with clock

    Arizona defender Savanah Levake takes a swing at the ball in a 1-0 loss to Virginia Tech on Friday night at Murphey Stadium. No. 2 Santa Clara also beat the Wildcats 1-0 yesterday.
    Arizona defender Savanah Levake takes a swing at the ball in a 1-0 loss to Virginia Tech on Friday night at Murphey Stadium. No. 2 Santa Clara also beat the Wildcats 1-0 yesterday.

    It is said that defense wins championships. For the Arizona soccer team, however, a lack of capitalization on offense led to its demise this weekend.

    The Wildcats dropped a two-game set against Virginia Tech (4-2-1) Friday and to No. 2 Santa Clara (7-0-1) yesterday.

    Missed opportunities plagued Arizona (4-5-0) throughout its 1-0 double overtime loss to the Broncos yesterday afternoon, two days after a loss by the same score.

    On numerous occasions, the Wildcats created chances in the box but came up empty. Arizona tallied eight shots with four finding the goal – only to have Santa Clara goalkeeper Meagan McCray send Arizona to its third-straight shutout loss.

    “”Composure in front of the box was not going well for us today,”” said UA forward Jacqueline Broussard. “”We had the opportunities and either we were rushing it or we just didn’t get our feet under us properly. One thing or the other, we just didn’t get it in.””

    The missed chance that hurt the most for Arizona occurred in the concluding seconds of regulation.

    With the clock under five seconds, the Wildcats pushed the ball inside the Broncos’ goal box. As time expired, forward Samantha Drees pushed around McCray and booted the ball to the back of the net.

    But officials ruled no goal, declaring time had expired.

    “”With every referee it’s different,”” Broussard said. “”From my opinion you can stop the forward play when the clock runs out if we’re attacking. But with one second left and we’re shooting the ball and you stop the game and call it no goal is ridiculous.

    “”It should have been a goal.””

    Despite head coach Dan Tobias’ argument with the officials, the call stood, and the game continued into overtime, when Arizona fell in the 102nd minute on a goal off a free kick by Broncos forward Brittany Klein.

    Despite giving up the late goal, Arizona played stellar defense for the second game in a row. The Wildcats held the Broncos to only six shots while goalkeeper Danielle Nicolai recorded four saves.

    “”We were really good,”” Tobias said of his team’s defense. “”Santa Clara puts such a high premium on keeping the ball, and they’re a very good team when they get into a rhythm. But I felt for the most part we were disruptive.””

    Arizona’s first-ever matchup with Virginia Tech had similar results, as defense again played a significant role.

    After playing what defender Brianna Caceres called some of the team’s best soccer all season, Arizona allowed Virginia Tech’s Mauri Liberati an open look at the goal from seven yards out – a look Liberati did not squander, putting the Hokies in front with only seven and a half minutes left to play.

    “”We all played as a team, but they just had that one break and finished it,”” Caceres said. “”But I give our team props because this was the best we’ve ever played, and I’m proud of our team.””

    Arizona played solid defense throughout most of Friday’s contest, allowing only three shots prior to Liberati’s goal in the 82nd minute. Offensively, however, the Wildcats struggled putting the ball away.

    Arizona had nine shots, including four on goal. The Wildcats’ best chance came on a cross in front of the net to midfielder Karina Camacho. But Camacho’s header sailed inches high of the top of the net.

    “”Even though we haven’t been getting the ball in the net, we’re creating good, high-quality chances,”” Tobias said. “”I don’t feel we’re struggling offensively. It doesn’t show on the score sheet but we’re definitely taking better care of the ball game after game.””

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