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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats earn huge victory over Washington State 1-0 on road turf

Defense+player+Jessica+Nelson+%2822%29+vies+for+the+ball+on+Friday%2C+Oct.+16.+Photo+Courtesy+of+Arizona+Athletics

Defense player Jessica Nelson (22) vies for the ball on Friday, Oct. 16. Photo Courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona soccer desperately needed a win after losing three straight games, and it got the job done with a 1-0 road win over the No. 16 Washington State Cougars.

It looked like the Cougars were going to get on the board quickly when, in the 5th minute, Pac-12-leading goal scorer Kaitlyn Johnson had a breakaway, but her shot was off the mark.

A few minutes later, a Wazzu corner kick was put on net, but an Arizona defender was there to block it.

The Wildcats got their first shot on goal soon after when Gabi Stoian put one on the net from about 25 yards out. Pac-12 saves leader Ella Dederick was there to make the save, however.

Stoian’s chance aside, Washington State was the aggressor in the first half, as it outshot the Wildcats 11-6.

In the 18th minute, the Cougars had a wide-open shot near the right side of the box, but it went off target.

About 15 minutes later, Arizona senior defender Sheaffer Skadsen, as the last line of defense, broke up a dangerous play that would have been a 1-on-1 if not for her heroics.

Despite Washington State’s constant pressure on the Arizona defense, it was Arizona that scored the first and only goal of the game. In the 34th minute, Dederick made a leaping save on a shot from Hannah Wong and knocked it over the crossbar. It setup an Arizona corner kick, and on the corner kick, Jessica Nelson was able to head it in for her first career goal.

The Wildcats headed into halftime up 1-0, and their defense would seal the deal in the second half.

In the 61st minute, the Cougars had a 2-on-1, but the Wildcats were able to avoid any danger. Shortly after, the Cougars had another open look, but Cera Wagner’s shot missed the net.

Lainey Burdett came up with a big save in the 67th minute when she knocked a Washington State shot to safety over the crossbar. She finished with a career-high nine saves. Wazzu got a corner kick out of the play, though, and that too was saved by Burdett. The rebound went to a WSU player, however, but the follow-up shot was errant.

The Cougars earned another corner just a minute or two after, but Burdett was there again to clear the threat.

The Cougars finished with 25 shots, but the Wildcats’ defense — along with some beautiful saves by Burdett — were able to preserve their seventh shutout of the season.

“To come on the road against a top-20 team and win on the road is huge,” said Arizona head coach Tony Amato. “We grinded out a lot of the more important moments of the match and were dangerous in set pieces. The team put in a complete effort to get the win tonight.”

It was a tremendous bounce-back performance. The defense struggled mightily against the Los Angeles schools — giving up eight goals in the two games — but it returned to its spirited self in tonight’s game. It was exactly what the doctor ordered to end the team’s three-game skid.

The win moves Arizona to 9-4-1 overall, and 3-3 in the Pac-12. The Wildcats will host Oregon and Oregon State next weekend. Both schools are at the bottom of the conference standings, and it will be a huge opportunity for the Wildcats to recover some of the ground they lost in the past two weeks.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.


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