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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Soccer to return full roster after disappointing year

    It certainly wasn’t a happy ending.

    The Arizona soccer team ended its season Sunday on a disheartening note, losing 1-0 to Washington State.

    After starting the season with a 6-2 record, the Wildcats won only two games the remainder of the season, ending at 8-10-2 (1-6-2 Pacific 10 Conference) a year after reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA College Cup last year under head coach Dan Tobias.

    “”I thought it was a pretty depressing season,”” said junior defender Claire Bodiya. “”It was frustrating because we were very inconsistent and we never found out what worked – well we did, we just chose not to … (have) everyone working hard and working for each other.””

    Arguably the low point of the season came when the Wildcats went scoreless for 482 minutes, a span that lasted more than four games in the Pac-10 season. Nine goals were scored against Arizona during the drought, four coming Oct. 28 against ASU alone.

    Because there were no seniors on this year’s squad, the team will know each other well coming into next year, continuing such bonding rituals as breaking off into a couple of circles before each practice and counting how many times they can head the ball around before it hits the ground. They plan to hang out together off the field just as they did this year.

    “”I just hope that next year we can bring the closeness we had off the field onto the field,”” Bodiya said.

    With a tighter bond on the field, formations will be set up more easily during games, with players knowing the exact behavior of each teammate, a quality that was nonexistent this season.

    “”Because we all have independent personalities, we just couldn’t get the team chemistry on the field,”” said sophomore defender Brianna Caceres. “”We couldn’t find that rhythm we all hoped we would find.””

    Knowing the traits of your teammates is key, said sophomore forward London King.

    “”Knowing each other and coming back (next year), that will really help us out to be really solid on the field,”” she said.

    Now that the season is over, they don’t have to worry about saying goodbye to anyone like they did last year when Arizona’s leading scorer in then-senior forward Mallory Miller, last year’s Pac-10 Player of the Year, had played her last game.

    Miller scored 19 goals last season, while King and then-freshman forward Gianna DeSaverio tied for second with three apiece.

    DeSaverio led the team this year with just six goals, not holding a candle to Miller’s feat.

    “”It’s nice because we know that this team is going to be next year’s team, so we don’t need to adjust to positions being changed or losing someone – like when we lost the seniors last year, we had to fill some pretty crucial spots,”” Bodiya said. “”We don’t have to go through that next year.””

    On the contrary, the Wildcats will regain the availability of two goaltenders in sophomore Devon Wharf, who was out early this season with a broken foot, and junior McCall Smith, who redshirted this season due to a surgery she underwent last June to correct the pain in her left knee from increasing wear-and-tear issues.

    Sophomore Chelsea McIntyre took over as the full-time goaltender this season, collecting a Pac-10 high 109 saves.

    Having a healthy Smith, who started 21 games each of her first two seasons, next season, along with Wharf, Arizona will be deep with three strong goaltenders.

    This young sisterhood can continue growing up together, learning along the way as to what worked and what didn’t work for them this season.

    When asked to describe this season, after a long pause King simply said it was “”bittersweet.””

    “”I really believe that we had a lot of talent this year, more talent than Arizona has had in a while,”” she said. “”I just feel a little sad that we didn’t get the results that we should have gotten.””

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