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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer in need of change as pressure mounts

    Urgency is mounting for the Arizona soccer team, already 0-2 in conference play and with their schedule not getting any easier as the postseason approaches.

    “”We need to get back in the race, no question,”” said UA head coach Dan Tobias. “”We’ve had enough moral victories for ourselves this season.

    “”A win (tonight) will help in a lot of ways.””

    Arizona takes on two teams that also desperately need a win this weekend. Both Oregon State and Oregon began conference play with 0-2 records.

    The Wildcats (5-7-0) take on Oregon State (7-5-1) tonight in Corvallis, Ore., and Oregon (7-6-0) on Sunday afternoon in Eugene.

    To create a spark among the Wildcats, injured goalkeeper Devon Wharf came to practice Tuesday with a gift for each member of the team. Each player received a red and blue bracelet with a note attached reading: “”We’ve all been through so many ups and downs this season. It’s time to show all of the people who are against us and who are for us what we’re made of.””

    With Wharf one of the players who has especially experienced lows this season – she tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the season opener against Utah – her message rang loudly among her teammates, who seem to realize that this weekend could be a defining moment in their season.

    “”I think (getting a win) is important, but I think more importantly we need to find ourselves playing better as a team,”” said forward Analisa Marquez. “”I know when we play well as a team, that win will come.””

    After Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Washington, Tobias addressed the team about turnovers. Both of the Huskies’ goals came after Arizona turned the ball over deep in its own territory, leading to open chances for Washington.

    “”If you’re turning the ball over in the back third, the likelihood of a team in our conference scoring a goal is pretty high,”” Tobias said. “”We’ve had a few games where we’ve made mistakes in our back third, and it’s bitten us.””

    The Wildcats may need to put an even higher emphasis on minding the ball in their backfield, as they could be forced to use second-string goalkeeper Halley Brown tonight.

    Starter Danielle Nicolai suffered a concussion Sunday after colliding with a Washington player. Nicolai later left the game for good late in the second period.

    Tobias said Nicolai is listed as day-to-day. He is unsure whether the team’s medical staff will clear Nicolai to play tonight.

    “”When you have a head injury like a concussion, I just have to go with what the medical staff says,”” Tobias said. “”So as of (Tuesday) she’s out indefinitely.””

    Brown, who walked onto the team in September to back up Nicolai after Wharf went down, saw her first action Sunday, recording no saves.

    Despite the potential change in goal for the Wildcats, forward Laura Huylebroeck said the team is not concerned with who is on the field but rather whether players work together.

    “”We just need to put in constant hard work for a full 90 minutes,”” Huylebroeck said. “”If we can give that effort the entire game, I think (success) will come.””

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