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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer drops pair of games in Bay Area

    If the Arizona soccer team only had to play 45 minutes in each of its games this weekend, the Wildcats could have escaped dropping to the .500 mark on the season.

    In a pair of road losses to No. 2 Stanford (16-0-1, 6-0 Pacific 10 Conference) and California (10-5-1, 3-2-1), the Wildcats (8-8, 1-4) held their opponents scoreless through the first half, but allowed mistakes to become opportunities that the Cardinals and Golden Bears exploited.

    “”We played very well through the first 45 to 48 minutes of each game,”” said UA head coach Dan Tobias. “”But in each case we made one slight error and against teams of this caliber – especially Stanford – they can and will take advantage of that and they did.””

    Arizona struggled mightily on offense Sunday against California as the team didn’t manage to get a shot off until the 49th minute of play. The Wildcats then had to wait until the 73rd minute for their first shot on goal, which came off the foot of forward Renae Cuellar.

    Meanwhile, California took an aggressive approach outshooting Arizona 4-0 in the first half and then 10-3 in the second period.

    With eight of the Golden Bears’ 14 total shots on target, it was inevitable that one would get past Arizona keeper Chelsea McIntyre. One did get past her in the 57th minute when California forward Katie Benz took a pass from midfielder Katie Oakes and fired it to the left corner of the goal to break the 0-0 tie.

    Cal struck for the second and final time 18 minutes later when forward Alex Morgan connected on a long-range shot to give the Golden Bears a 2-0 advantage.

    “”We certainly were not assertive enough,”” Tobias said of Sunday’s effort. “”I told the team at halftime, ‘Guys, we have to shoot the ball more’ and I thought we came out great in the second half, especially in the first 10 minutes.

    “”We had a lot of momentum and plenty of chances to get that first goal in those first 10, 11, 12 minutes,”” he added, “”but we just couldn’t convert and it cost us. Then when (California) scored, that just kind of drained us mentally.””

    Sunday’s disappointing second half effort held a strong resemblance to the one Arizona showed in Friday’s 3-1 loss to the second-ranked Cardinal.

    Once again Arizona went into the half scoreless, but it came under heavy fire in the second half from the high-powered Stanford offense, which currently leads the Pac-10 in goals scored.

    For the game, the Cardinal outshot Arizona by a lopsided margin of 32-8 with a shot-on-goal margin of 19-4.

    Stanford had six players who recorded multiple shots Friday while two of the team’s impressive freshman came up with the trio of goals that sank the Wildcats.

    Arizona did manage to prevent the shutout with a goal in the 74th minute from forward Karina Camacho – her fifth of the season – on a penalty kick.

    “”We were sitting there 0-0 at halftime, and I thought we were in pretty good shape,”” Tobias said. “”But in the second half, they are that good that we made one mistake on a ball in the midfield and they turned it into a goal, and all of the sudden the game was different.

    “”It was tough because I really feel if we had kept the ball in that midfield possession through the first 15 minutes (of the half) and if we had tucked away our chances, it would have been a different game.””

    Despite the loss and giving up three goals, the Wildcats still took away a positive feeling defensively, punctuated by McIntyre’s play.

    In Friday’s game, McIntyre recorded a career-high 15 saves, with another five in Sunday’s loss to California.

    With her effort this weekend, McIntyre currently sits one save behind Washington State’s Lindsay Parlee for the most saves in the conference with 72, in addition to holding a save percentage of over .80.

    “”(McIntyre’s) been tremendous,”” Tobias said. “”She’s definitely saved what she’s supposed to and also thrown in a few extra. What she brings is a lot of confidence and that makes everyone on the field more comfortable.

    “”She can not only stop shots, but snuffs out opportunities as well,”” Tobias added. “”She’s done that throughout the season and this weekend also.””

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