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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona soccer: Gabi Stoian to face former Pinnacle HS teammate in Colorado’s Jalen Tompkins

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Zi Yang Lai

Midfielder Gabi Stoian (9) brings the ball downfield against Oregon on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. 

When Arizona and Colorado take the field Thursday night, it’ll be just like old times for a pair of former high school teammates.

Gabi Stoian will be making life difficult for an opposing defense, while Jalen Tompkins will be manning the net and making saves on an Arizona soccer field. The last time that was true, it was the winter of 2013 and the two were in the process of winning a state championship at Phoenix’s Pinnacle High School.

But this time ”Pinnacle Pioneers” won’t be stitched on their jerseys nor will they be playing for the same team. 

Instead, Stoian, a Wildcat, will be donning red and blue while Tompkins, a Buffalo, will be decked out in black and gold. 

The two will have to be enemies for the night.

“I’m not one to trash talk on the field,” Stoian said. ”But maybe I’ll say something if I’m next to her.”

It’s been three seasons since they were teammates, and obviously a lot has changed since then, and both have found success at their new schools.

Stoian, now a junior, burst onto the scene as a freshman at Arizona, scoring 13 goals in her first 21 games. And she’s tallied eight since, putting her fifth on Arizona’s all-time scoring list, while also being third on Arizona’s all-time assist list.

Tompkins, on the other hand, is a year younger than Stoian and redshirted her freshman season. Therefore she hadn’t played for the Buffaloes until this season, but she’s already made an impact at Colorado.

The Buffaloes were 7-10-2 last season, but have already matched that win total this year, putting together a 7-3 record in their first 10 games. So far, Tompkins is second the Pac-12 Conference in saves (38) and save percentage (.884), and was recently named as the Pac-12’s goalkeeper of the week.

The former Pinnacle Pioneers are thriving at their respective universities and they remain close friends, despite playing in different parts of the country.

“She’s actually one of my best friends,” Stoian said. “So I’m excited to see her.” 

And, yes, Stoian wants to score on her, too.

“You want to score on any goalkeeper, but especially against someone that you know,” the UA midfielder said. ”And usually you know their weaknesses and strengths, but she’ll be a good keeper and it’ll be tough to score on her, but hopefully I can do that.”

Tompkins used to watch Stoian score from the opposite end of the field, but you can bet she’ll be ready to make a save against her former teammate on Thursday night on the Pac-12 stage.

“Can’t wait!” tweeted the Colorado goalkeeper.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter


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