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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer heads to Wash. season finale

    This is a big weekend for Arizona soccer head coach Dan Tobias.

    Tobias has the opportunity to reach and surpass the 100-win mark for a career in which he has led two teams to a combined 99-102-14 overall record. Making Friday’s potential milestone-tying game all that much more significant is that it comes against Washington State (8-5-5, 2-3-2 Pacific 10 Conference), the team that the sixth-year Arizona coach led before making to the move to Tucson.

    But when asked about Friday’s implications, Tobias said it hasn’t even crossed his mind.

    “”This is the first time I’ve even thought about it,”” Tobias said. “”It just means I’ve been in the game a while, and I’ve been very fortunate to coach some good teams and good players. Hopefully I’m around to see 200 and 300 wins, but right now I’m not thinking about any of that.”” For Tobias and the Wildcats, there is much more riding on this weekend’s two-game season finale against Washington State and Washington (12-5-1, 3-3-1).

    With Arizona currently owning a record of 9-9 and a 2-5 mark in conference play, the team needs to pick up a pair of wins to even be considered by the NCAA Tournament selection committee as a squad worthy of making the 64-team cut. While the Wildcats’ postseason situation is far from ideal, Tobias and his players are feeling fortunate they even have that chance after the team went into its final game of last season having already been eliminated from contention with a record of 6-13-1.

    “”This has been a building year and we certainly have a better record than last year,”” said defender Savanah Levake. “”We’ve had a successful year so far, but we don’t want it to end just yet.””

    This year, with the NCAA Tournament committee’s requirement of a minimum win percentage of .500 within grasp and with the Wildcats’ good Ratings Percentage Index rating, Arizona is feeling comfortable in its hope of a possible tournament berth.

    Arizona is currently ranked 61st in the nation for RPI and compete in a conference which has seven teams ranked in the national top 50.

    One thing Tobias hopes will be considered by the committee is the strength of his team’s schedule and the strong performance the Wildcats gave, despite losses against some of the nation’s top teams.

    Early in the year, the Wildcats took then-No. 8 Texas to double overtime before the Longhorns netted the game-winner with less than five minutes remaining.

    More recently, Arizona held the sixth-ranked Stanford offense scoreless until midway through the second period and still held the Cardinal under its goals per game average of 3.11.

    One disadvantage the Wildcats face this weekend is a lack of momentum. Arizona is going to Washington with losses in five of its last six games, and it has been outscored 11-3 in that period.

    The Wildcats picked up their second conference win of the season last Friday at home against Oregon State with a 2-1 win on senior night.

    Multiple scores seem to be the recipe for success for the team this season as Arizona is 7-0 when scoring two or more goals and only 2-9 when finishing with one goal or less.

    While the numbers seem obvious, however, scoring has been hard to come by during the second half of the season for Arizona, a team that began the year with six multi-goal games in its first 12 contests. Since then, the Wildcats have scored only three goals total.

    The lack of scoring led to some frustration last weekend after Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Oregon in which multiple chances went unfulfilled while the Ducks converted on one of theirs in the second half to give them the win.

    After the game, defender Brianna Caceres expressed her frustration.

    “”There’s only so much we can do in the back when our forwards don’t score and finish the chances,”” Caceres said. “”It puts a lot more pressure on the defense and our goalie to step it up a little more and … we’re bound to make a mistake, and that’s when other teams capitalize.””

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