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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Most memorable moments of the year

    UA forward Zach Cherney celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal during a 4-3 Icecat win on Feb. 21 against ASU in the Tucson Convention Center. The Icecats swept ASU during a two-game home stand to close out the season.
    UA forward Zach Cherney celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal during a 4-3 Icecat win on Feb. 21 against ASU in the Tucson Convention Center. The Icecats swept ASU during a two-game home stand to close out the season.

    1. Coleman stepped on Chase Budinger’s face

    Aubrey Coleman stepped on Chase Budinger’s last nerve – and his face.

    With 9:51 left in regulation in the Arizona men’s basketball team’s game against Houston on Jan. 24, Coleman ran down Lute and Bobbi Olson Court and was called for a charge when he knocked Budinger to the floor.

    “”He stepped on part of my face and my arm,”” Budinger said after the game, showing

    Coleman’s footprint on his jersey and a raspberry near his armpit.

    Whether it was an intentional act or not, Coleman’s misstep made national news and was viewed millions of times on YouTube within days of the incident.

    Budinger popped up from the incident and charged after

    Coleman as teammates and referees held him back and both teams’ benches emptied.

    “”Anytime you get kicked in the face I’d hope you’d retaliate,”” Budinger said.

    – Lance Madden

    2. W-swim relay DQ cost team shot at repeating as national champions

    The Arizona women’s swim team finished just 22.5 points behind NCAA champion

    California, but the Wildcats lost out on 40 points in their heavily favored 200-yard medley relay team after a false start sent them packing. There are no mulligans in swimming, and that instant defined the 2009 NCAA meet for the Wildcats.

    However, it remains unclear as to whether the disqualification cost them a championship or caused the team to rally, making the most of the remaining portion of their meet.

    “”I couldn’t be more proud of our team on how we battled back,”” junior backstroker Ana Agy said after the championship meet. “”For everything that happened, I think our team really showed our strength.””

    In other words, the seemingly devastating disqualification could have brought out the best in the swimmers, who refused to fold after giving away 40 points. A three-way battle between Arizona, California and Georgia ensued, and the Wildcats were within reach of the other two teams throughout.

    In the end, they couldn’t best the Golden Bears or the champion Bulldogs.

    “”To their credit, the girls turned around, they wouldn’t stay down,”” head coach Frank Busch said after the NCAA meet. “”They just kept fighting and fighting, and they almost fought their way back in one of the closest meets in the history of (the NCAAs).””

    – Kevin Zimmerman

    3. Fourth-and-just-short against USC

    Arizona fought tooth and nail in a defensive battle against then-No. 6 USC, but in the end, the Wildcats were unable to pull the upset as they fell to the Trojans in a 17-10 game during the UA’s Homecoming weekend.

    “”They were just too good defensively and that was really the story,”” UA head coach Mike Stoops said after the game. “”We were in it all the way to the end though, but that’s just the way it goes.””

    The game could be best summarized by one fourth-quarter play. Arizona had a 4th-and-inches – maybe one inch – at the UA 47-yard line with the game essentially on the line. Senior quarterback Willie Tuitama could have sneezed his way past the line for a first down, but the Trojan defense bowed up and stuffed Tuitama for a no gain and Arizona trotted off the field with bowed heads.

    – Brian Kimball

    4. Horne’s late-game foul trouble

    It couldn’t happen again -ÿit was a category of history too weird to repeat itself.

    But then again, during the 2008-09 UA men’s basketball season, almost nothing was too weird for the Wildcats.

    Jamelle Horne dove to foul Paul Delaney III past halfcourt with 0.8 seconds left in a game against University of Alabama at Birmingham, giving the

    Wildcats a loss from the resulting free throws instead of having the contest be decided in overtime. Then, nearly two months later, Horne became America’s punching bag once again for fouling in the final seconds of a game at USC.

    Once again, Arizona lost by a point thanks to its opponent’s free throws down the stretch, and once again, UA fans booed its five-star recruit.

    – Lance Madden

    5. Thomas’ punt return for TD against ASU seals win against Sun Devils

    In rivalry games, big players need to step up and make big plays for their team to win. That’s exactly what UA senior wide receiver Mike Thomas did in his final Duel in the Desert on Dec. 6 at Arizona Stadium.

    The Wildcats’ best playmaker fielded a punt at the Arizona 48-yard line after it bounced over his head. He could have done the “”smart thing”” and fall on the ball to secure possession, but he decided to do a gutsy thing instead.

    Thomas corralled the pig skin and turned to the far side of the field. He followed a slew of blockers 52 yards for a score that sent a sold-out crowd of 58,704 into a frenzy as the touchdown cemented the Wildcats’ supremacy over ASU in the game.

    “”It’s sweeter than sweet-potato pie. It was good, you can’t take away this kind of feeling,”” Thomas said after the game. “”We’ll remember this forever. Our last game at Arizona, to go out the way we did, it was awesome.””

    – Brian Kimball

    6. Classic ending for Icecats vs. ASU

    As the Arizona club hockey team prepared to play the last game of the season at the Tucson Convention Center, the atmosphere was comparable to a championship game. Considering it was Senior Night and the opponent was ASU, the intensity was to be expected.

    After three periods of play, it was only fitting that the score was tied as a result of each teams’ refuse-to-lose mentality.

    In overtime, ASU had numerous chances to score but Icecat goaltender Nick Boddy would not let his team lose as he made spectacular saves throughout the overtime period.

    In the ensuing shootout, Boddy continued his phenomenal play and each team had six chances to end the game but there was still no winner. Zach Cherney – the seventh UA shooter – sealed the deal and sent his senior teammates away with a victory.

    The junior flipped the puck over the ASU goaltender’s right shoulder to send the sold-out crowd at the Tucson Convention Center into a frenzy, as his teammates dog-piled on top of him in excitement.

    “”It was a great way to go out,”” Boddy said after the game. “”… We had a lot of fun and it was definitely one of the best weekends I’ve had in all four years here.””

    – Vincent Balistreri

    7. Bagga’s Senior Day 3-pointer

    Arizona’s most popular player was sent out on the court to eat up the final 12 seconds of a 14-point win against Stanford on March 7. Nic Wise stole an inbound pass and passed it to David Bagga, one of two seniors on the UA squad. Bagga shot a meaningless 3-pointer, but when it tickled the twine it was the most meaningful basket he had ever scored in his college career.

    The bucket gave Bagga his 20th, 21st and 22nd career points in his 41st minute of play.

    It was a sweet ending to Arizona’s final home game of the season, but it almost didn’t happen. Bagga didn’t think the shot was going in.

    “”I thought I was going to miss, that’s why I yelled, ‘Short,'”” he said after the game, smiling. “”But I’m just glad we won.””

    – Lance Madden

    8. Keola Antolin’s drop against Oregon on fourth down

    After a horrendous first half against Oregon in Eugene on Nov. 15, the UA football team came roaring back to turn a would-be-blowout into a nail-biter.

    Down 45-17 at halftime, UA freshman running back Keola Antolin had a monster of a second half as he scored three touchdowns to bring the Wildcats to within three points of the Ducks.

    Even though Antolin finished the game with 87 yards on 20 carries and four scores, his performance in that game will be remembered for one play he couldn’t make. The Wildcats were faced with a 4th-and-3 play, but were unsuccessful in the attempt to pick up the first down.

    Arizona ran a swing pass, which proved to be the right decision given that Antolin was wide open, but he let the ball slip threw his fingertips and fall to the ground.

    “”People said nobody was there. I don’t know how many yards I would have (gotten), but people said I was open,”” Antolin said of the drop. “”I just took my eyes off of it. I got too anxious to run it, but that’s what happened.””

    – Brian Kimball

    9. Karissa Buchanan’s crashing catch

    Against Oregon on March 29, the Wildcats surrendered a late lead to the Ducks in the top of the seventh inning. The final out of the Oregon half, however, would provide Arizona with the momentum it needed to mount a comeback.

    With two runners on base, Oregon’s Monique Fuiava blasted a pitch to deep right field, one that was surely headed over the outfield wall and would put the Wildcats in an even bigger hole.

    Freshmen Karissa Buchanan had other plans.

    “”I really wanted to catch it, and nothing was going to stand in my way. I didn’t even think about the wall,”” she said after the game.

    Buchanan slammed into the outfield, bringing the ball back and recording the final out of the inning. She laid on the ground for several minutes before returning to the dugout. Her play gave Arizona the spark to come back in the bottom half of the seventh inning off back-to-back home runs by Brittany Lastrapes and K’Lee Arredondo to tie the game before Jenae Leles hit the game-winning home run over the center field fence.

    – Nicole Dimtsios

    10. Jennings off to Europe

    Sometimes the greatest blessings are disguised.

    Brandon Jennings, the nation’s top high school player last year, committed to play for Arizona just days after playing in the Arizona Cactus Classic AAU tournament. Then, in an awkward series of events, troubles with several SAT exams made him academically ineligible for collegiate athletics.

    Jennings became a professional player in Italy and signed a lucrative contract with Under Armour. Meanwhile, UA point guard Nic Wise, who was considering a transfer, decided to come back for his junior season as one of the top-three players on the team.

    While Jennings got a year of experience as a professional, Wise helped lead his team to a Sweet 16 berth.

    It was a win-win situation for both point guards.

    -ÿLance Madden

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