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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Weekend Club Roundup

    Fast start against UTEP at home keeps men’s club soccer undefeated

    Most soccer games are decided by a few key plays and a little bit of luck. The Arizona men’s soccer home finale was no exception.

    The team improved its record to 6-0-2 with a 2-0 victory over UTEP at the Rincon Vista Complex on Saturday afternoon, after being the more fortunate team on three crucial plays early in the first half.

    Only three minutes into the game, the Arizona defense faced its toughest challenge of the day – but it could see only the back of that challenge as UTEP striker Gabriel Argumedo raced downfield on a breakaway.

    Two Wildcat defenders frantically chased Argumedo and forced him into a poor angle, and UA goalie Garret Morgan was able to make a save.

    UTEP appeared to be more skilled on the ball throughout the game, but the quality of their passes paled in comparison to the Wildcats’ pinpoint distribution.

    The Wildcat midfielders, led by center midfielder Omid Aldaghi, played brilliant combinations seemingly at will, one-touching and wall-passing their way deep into UTEP territory.

    Arizona consistently marched up the flanks of the field, and outside midfielders Andreas Papoutsis and Tyler Geisert fired cross after cross into the UTEP penalty area, but nobody could convert the services into goals.

    “”I thought we exploited the left flank very well,”” said UA head coach David Hunter. “”We ignored the right side a bit, but overall we got good play from our wingers.””

    The Wildcats high-pressure defense forced UTEP into mistakes and, in turn, created many goal-scoring opportunities.

    Arizona broke through after striker Luke Mihalovic scored a beauty of a goal in the eighth minute. After the ball somehow found its way to Mihalovic by bouncing through the Miner defense, he made a few fakes, created some space and fired a shot that caromed off the far post and into the net.

    “”They gave me some space, I saw an opening and took the shot,”” Mihalovic said.

    After netting one for his personal highlight reel, Mihalovic wasn’t done scoring yet. He added to his tally after beating UTEP goalie Carlos Manzanera in the 19th minute from point-blank range. Mihalovic seemed to be in the right place at the right time once again, and was able to gently guide the ball in the back of the back of the net to provide the final margin of victory.

    “”He’s a big, strong striker,”” Hunter said of Mihalovic. “”When he’s on, he can be very dangerous.””

    Arizona dominated the first half of play with 10 shots, seven on goal, and five corner kicks, compared to UTEP’s two shots. UTEP had only one shot on goal – the early breakaway – and had zero corner kicks.

    Hunter reminded his team at halftime that “”a two-goal lead is the most dangerous lead in soccer,”” but the team didn’t seem to get the message right away.

    Arizona looked sloppy for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but was able to correct its mistakes and bunker down on defense.

    “”Our flank defense played really well,”” Hunter said. “”(UTEP) tried to absorb our attack and counter, but we held them in check nicely.””

    UTEP pressed hard in the second half to try and get on the score sheet, and dominated the course of play, but couldn’t muster more than five shots, only two on goal, none of which threatened the Wildcat defense.

    – Brian Kimball

    Water polo club sweeps at ASU

    The No. 3 Arizona men’s water polo club swept this weekend’s Southwest League Tournament at ASU, with both the A- and B-team winning all three of their games.

    Their performances earned the Wildcats the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Southwest League Championships, to be held Oct. 26-27 in the Student Recreation Center pool.

    “”It was really a great weekend,”” said team president Alex Kane.

    Arizona opened the tournament with what Kane called a “”serious beating”” of New Mexico, winning 19-4. The Wildcats then rolled into the biggest game of the tournament, a nighttime showdown with the Sun Devils in front of a crowd that Kane estimated at around 400.

    “”It was huge,”” Kane said. “”It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of.””

    It was also a hostile crowd.

    “”I’ve also never played in front a crowd where everyone hated me, you know what I mean,”” Kane said. “”Normally the big crowds are a compilation of everyone’s fans from the entire tournament. This was 99 percent ASU fans, and they were booing us and cussing us, and it was awesome.””

    The Wildcats did not buckle under the pressure. Arizona won 16-11, outscoring the Sun Devils in every quarter.

    “”We were really pumped up,”” Kane said. “”There’s nothing better than beating ASU on their territory.””

    The A-team, which earned the No. 1 seed, followed up its victory over ASU with a 15-4 victory over NAU on Sunday morning.

    The B-team, which got the No. 2 seed, won both its games Saturday, beating NAU 14-6 and ASU 12-4. The team finished up its own sweep of the weekend Sunday, beating New Mexico 8-5.

    Heading into the Southwest League Championships, the Wildcat A-team is undefeated with a record of 8-0. The B-team stands in second place with a record of 5-3.

    Arizona hosts its first tournament of the year, the annual Cactus Classic, Friday through Sunday.

    The Cactus Classic is an exhibition tournament that will not affect national rankings. Kane said the tournament will be a chance for the Wildcats to hone their skills before the conference finals and nationals, which will both be held at the UA.

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