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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona soccer’s season comes to an end, fall to Stanford 3-0

Arizona+Defender%26nbsp%3BHayley+Estopare+%2823%29+faces+down+two+stanford+girls+Saturday%2C+Nov.+21.+Photo+courtesy+of+Arizona+Athletics.

Arizona Defender Hayley Estopare (23) faces down two stanford girls Saturday, Nov. 21. Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics.

Arizona soccer’s historical season has come to an end.

The Wildcats beat Northern Colorado and Santa Clara in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in program history. The run would end there as the were defeated by Stanford 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in Palo Alto, Calif.

It was Arizona’s second time playing Stanford this season, and while the Cardinal won the first matchup in Tucson in a game that went to overtime, this game wasn’t as close.

The Wildcats did get off to good start, however. They had success keeping the ball in Stanford’s territory for the first part of the half and nearly got on the board in the 12th minute. Jaden DeGracie took a powerful shot from distance, but it went just over the bar.

A few minutes later, the Wildcats would get a corner kick, but the Cardinal would clear it away.

Despite Arizona’s ability to control the beginning of the game, it was Stanford that got on the scoreboard first.

In the 18th minute, Megan Turner would score on a cross from Kyra Carusa to give the Cardinal a 1-0 lead.

Stanford found its rhythm and continued to attack Arizona’s defense.

Three minutes later, a shot by Stanford looked dangerous, but Arizona goalkeeper Lainey Burdett was able to make the save.

Shortly after that, some nifty passing by the Cardinal led to a header opportunity on net, but Burdett made another save. Then in the 37th minute, a Stanford corner led to another dangerous header, but it was off target.

The Cardinal would continue to threaten, but the Wildcats would keep it a 1-0 game heading into halftime.

“I thought in the first half we executed the way we needed to and we worked hard,” Arizona head coach Tony Amato said. “We caused them some fits and they created the one dangerous chance and they were good enough to finish it.”

The second half went as the first half finished. Stanford was the team controlling the ball and the pace, and was able to continue to create chances.

Arizona’s defense did an admirable job of keeping the Cardinal out of the net for most of the half, but finally Stanford would get an insurance goal in the 77th minute.

Ryan Walker-Hartshorn fought for a loose ball after Arizona was unable to clear it, and she knocked it in to make it a 2-0 lead.

Now down two goals, the Wildcats would move their backline forward to help generate some offense, but to no avail.

To add insult to injury, Walker-Hortshorn would score again in the 89th minute and Stanford would come away with a 3-0 victory.

“Stanford is good so you have to give them credit,” Amato said after the game. “In the second half they put their foot on the pedal and we struggled to get into any sort of rhythm.”

Even though the loss ends Arizona’s season, Amato can’t help but be proud of the way it all went down.

“I’m super proud of the team with the work they put in this season and they changed the expectations of our program,” Amato said.

The Wildcats finished with a 14-6-2 overall record, which is the program’s best since 2004 and its second-best record of all time. 

They also made it to the NCAA Tournament for just the fourth time in program history and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for just the second time.

It was an impressive season for a program that has traditionally been one of the worst in the Pac-12, but times have changed and their newfound success is here to stay.

“The standard now is making a run in the NCAA Tournament,” Amato said.

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