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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Soccer Preview: Coming off draw, Arizona focused on outscoring Central Florida

Steven Spooner

Arizona goalie Lainey Burdett catches the ball mid-air during the women’s soccer game against UC Irvine on Aug. 25.

The Wildcats are coming off a nil-nil draw against UC Irvine and are looking to get back in the win column against newly ranked No. 24 Central Florida in the Sun Devil Desert Classic, on Friday, Sept. 1 in Tempe.

Scoring goals wasn’t an issue for the Wildcats until they played a physical defense with the Anteaters, which wasn’t allowing them to do what they wanted offensively. Arizona head coach Tony Amato knows every match is different and game plans vary week to week.

“Every week is different…new opponent, different tactics to try to win the game,” Amato said. “We just gotta learn from that one.”

Arizona was shut out after scoring seven goals prior to their match against Irvine. Forward Charlotte Brascia acknowledged some adjustments they’ve made since.

“We worked on trying to get the ball in to the wide players,” Brascia said. “I think that was something we had to adjust to.”

UCF is coming off an impressive double-overtime win beating No. 4 North Carolina 2-1 at home. It’s similar to how Arizona opened the regular season on the road, beating No. 16 Oklahoma at the time.

Senior Gabi Stoian knows the feeling of confidence the Knights had after upsetting a ranked team. Arizona will again go in as an underdog this week matched up against a ranked opponent.

“Being the underdog is a great feeling, beating these teams we have nothing to lose,” Stoian said.

Amato is aware of the home-grown talent Central Florida possesses as well as the international talent they have at their disposal. The Knights have a total of nine international players on their roster.

“They have a Brazilian (Kathellen Sousa), a French goalkeeper (Chloe N’Gazi) …you can tell their strategy is to get the best Florida players they can and sprinkle in some internationals,” Amato said.

Expect a hot match once the opening whistle blows at 4 p.m. MST temperatures will easily be in the hundreds come game time. Amato and his team are accustomed to the high heat, but know they can’t let that play a factor.

“It’s hot, we’re gonna embrace that and know that we’re gonna have to run some substitution patterns,” Amato said. “We’re gonna have to make sure we are hydrated, we’re gonna have to make sure we don’t let it get to us mentally.”

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