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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Soccer teammates play against each other before biggest game of the season

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
UofA vs ASU 2 to 1 double overtime UofA victory
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UofA vs ASU 2 to 1 double overtime UofA victory

Arizona soccer freshman Alex Smith and sophomore Renae Cuellar have been big time contributors in each of the Wildcats’ wins this season. Last night, both were adversaries as they played in Canada vs. Mexico U-20 game for their respective countries.

Both teams tied 3-3 in their first of two national team competitions.

“”It’s great that we’re both able to play at the national level and we’re both representing Arizona while doing so,”” said Cuellar, who played for the Mexican national team. “”It was awesome, playing against (Smith) was interesting. No one gets bragging rights because we tied, but we both played well so it’s all right.””

Both will be needed more than ever this weekend as the Wildcats take on California today in Berkeley, Calif. and No. 1 Stanford on Sunday in Palo Alto, Calif.

Cuellar is expected to arrive for today’s game against California just a few hours before its 2 p.m. start, but Smith will miss today’s game.  Smith said  she had made an all-or-nothing commitment to the Canadian team.

“”We (the Canadian National team) had to stay for both games in order to ensure we would be invited back in the future,”” Smith said.  “”It’s hard to miss the Cal game but I want to be able to participate with the National team in the future.””

Since Sunday, Smith has been practicing with the U-20 Canadian national team in El Paso, Texas, in preparation for last night’s game against the Mexican national team and another one again on Saturday. Smith will play another national team game on Saturday, and then will catch a flight to the Bay Area for the Wildcats showdown with No. 1 Stanford.

“”(The thing is) just recovering from each game because I’m going into each game with the national team playing just as hard,”” said Smith. “”You just have to recover properly to be mentally and physically ready for the next day.””

Cuellar flew to El Paso, Texas, Wednesday night to participate in last night’s game and caught a 7:45 a.m. flight to Berkeley, Calif., this morning, arriving just a few hours before game time today.

“”We certainly respect both of their situations and want to help develop our players,”” said co-interim head coach John Galas. “”My gut feeling is that both will probably come off the bench but we’ll monitor the situation when both arrive.””

Both players are certainly anticipating the Wildcats biggest game of the season against No. 1 Stanford.

“”The nerves are already starting to set in,”” said Smith. “”But I think if we play our game anything can happen, we have to just go into the game with the right attitude.””

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