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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“‘Cats secure first tie, win over weekend”

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Soccer v. Cal Poly

Head soccer coach Lisa Oyen was all smiles after Sunday’s 4-2 win against Cal Poly.

After the Wildcats fought for a 1-1 draw on Friday night against Northern Arizona University thanks to a goal in the 88th minute by freshman Jensen Skinner, they finally captured their first win of the year on Sunday by triumphing in a physical battle against the Mustangs.

“”I got the monkey off my back,”” Oyen said in excitement after Sunday’s game.

“”To have the first win of the season feels fantastic. It’s something that we’ve been working towards not just for the last month, but for the last 10 months now.””

The Wildcats (1-2-1) displayed an aggressive offensive attack against Cal Poly, keeping the pressure on the Mustang defense by taking 22 shots with 15 attempts on goal.

Arizona’s anchor up front, junior Renae Cuellar, flashed her knack for scoring to the home crowd by netting two goals to raise her total to four goals scored on the year.

Cuellar’s first goal, assisted by freshman Gabrielle Lindeman, gave the Wildcats some early breathing room in the 14th minute and gave them their first lead of the season.

Promising young freshmen Ana Montoya and Jazmin Ponce added their first career goals in the 33rd and 58th minutes before Cuellar put the exclamation point on the win by burning through Cal Poly’s defense unassisted and depositing the ball into the back right corner of the net.

“”(Cuellar) is a player that embraces that role as a goal scorer and being the player that we look to,”” Oyen said.

The La Puente, Calif., native has been involved in every scoring play this season for Arizona, including providing the assist for Skinner’s late-game heroics on Friday against NAU (0-2-2).

Oyen talked about Arizona’s younger players benefiting from Cuellar’s presence up front, and how her ability to draw opposing defenders has opened up opportunities for teammates.

“”It was (Cuellar) making good decisions when she was solo, and her making good decisions of when to play the ball off was well, so we saw a very good balance in there,”” Oyen said. “”Some of that is just maturity and her just recognizing the situations in the game and that’s one of the reasons that she’s a successful player.””

While Arizona‘s offense was firing on all-cylinders on Sunday, its defense proved to be equally, if not more, significant in earning the positive results from the weekend.

Oyen went with a different look in goal for the weekend’s matches, choosing to go with junior Ashley Jett over freshman Lorena Aragon.

“”(Jett) came in and did some very good things for us,”” Oyen said after Jett earned her first career win in goal.

“”Not only the presence she brings as far as her technical goalkeeping, but the leadership she brought back there was instrumental in our success this weekend,”” Oyen added.

Sunday’s win was Arizona’s first since Oct. 23, 2009, and there was a palpable sigh of relief for Oyen as the Wildcat players embraced her after the game.

“”It’s nice to put together a more complete game, and really showcase the kind of team that we are and get a result that matches it,”” Oyen said. “”I’m incredibly proud of all my players.””

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