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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Soccer limps into Pac-10 schedule

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona soccer team will begin its rigorous Pacific 10 Conference journey tonight at 7 against No. 3 UCLA, followed by a No. 23 USC match Sunday at 1 p.m.

Since the Wildcats didn’t have a game on Sunday, as they usually do, the team began its weekly training sessions on Sunday rather than Tuesday, which gave it a head start in preparing for two tough teams in the Bruins and Trojans.

“”Pac-10 is here. We had a really good Pac-10 preparation week since beginning on Sunday,”” said Arizona head coach Dan Tobias. “”We’re excited to get started with conference play; it’s a new part of our season. I think it’s the best conference in the country and anybody is capable of beating anybody.””

The Wildcats will likely have previously injured starters, goalkeeper Devon Wharf (right knee) and forward Renae Cuellar (right foot) back as both sat out in last week’s 2-1 loss to Loyola Marymount with injuries.

Both practiced this week and are expected to play to give the team a much needed boost against two high-quality teams.

“”I’m ready to go, I’m 100 percent. I’m ready to play on Friday,”” said Wharf, sporting a bulky brace on her right knee.

The Bruins (9-1-1) are on a Pac-10-best, nine-game winning streak. The Wildcats know they will be going up against one of the best teams in the country, but welcome the challenge.

“”Regardless of where they stand in the country or who they have on the team, we just have to know that we can compete with them,”” Wharf said. “”We know they’re probably not going to underestimate us because they know we’re a Pac-10 team.””

Arizona hopes to rebound from a disappointing 2-7 Pac-10 record last year.

The Wildcats have a number of young players who will be playing their first Pac-10 game in a tough road environment, so it will be up to the upperclassmen to guide them through.

“”It’s just like any other game, but this one means a lot more than, say, (University of California,) Irvine,”” Wharf said. “”Every upperclassmen needs to step up and be a leader and help out the freshmen, because this is their first time around.””

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