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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer opens year expecting to ‘finish’

    When the Arizona soccer team opens its season against Utah tonight and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Sunday afternoon, it will have a chance to prove that the team that went 0-5-2 during the final stretch of the 2006 season is indeed a different team, despite returning the majority of its roster.

    The Wildcats meet the Utes at 7 p.m. at Murphey Stadium in the season opener for both teams and then Cal Poly at 1 p.m. Sunday in California.

    Ten of the Wildcats’ 11 starters return to a squad boasting one of the smallest incoming classes in recent years, as Arizona added only nine new freshmen.

    Because the Wildcats look so familiar, head coach Dan

    Last year we created a lot of chances, but we didn’t always tuck chances away.But that was last year. It was a learning experience. We definitely learned that the hard way.

    – Dan Tobias,
    UA head coach

    Tobias said some of the veteran players were getting caught up in comparisons between this team and the 2006 version.

    “”Last year is last year,”” Tobias said. “”I think in the beginning, some of the returners could still compare this year’s team to last year’s team. But I think now I’m hearing more and more talk comparing this year’s team to the beginning of preseason.

    “”This is a different team.””

    One of the old traits Tobias said should not carry on this year is difficulty finishing on offense.

    “”Last year we created a lot of chances, but we didn’t always tuck chances away,”” Tobias said. “”But that was last year. It was a learning experience. We definitely learned that the hard way.””

    Forward London King echoed her coach’s remarks, saying lack of follow-through contributed to the Wildcats’ 2-1 defeat to the Utes last September.

    “”We need to finish,”” King said. “”If you think about how many shots we had versus compared to how many shots they had, we should have won hands down.””

    As the team’s top returning scorer from last season with five goals, King will be integral to rejuvenating the Wildcats’ offense, which scoring only three goals in the final seven games last season.

    King said a big part of turning the team around should lie in the much-improved team chemistry from last year to now.

    “”A lot has changed – I mean team bonding-wise,”” she said. “”I feel like this year we truly enjoy each other’s company and have fun together.

    “”I think our chemistry off the field will help our chemistry on the field.””

    Tobias said the team will have to show confidence to start the erasing process this weekend.

    “”For us, it’s a matter of being assertive right from the start on both sides of the ball,”” he said. “”We want to attack on the front third and be assertive defensively to get the ball back where we want to.

    “”Looking at how (the) preseason has gone so far, it has built to a lot of excitement for playing (tonight).””

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