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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Men’s club soccer falls in semis, gain best-ever finish”

    The Arizona men’s club soccer team went into this weekend’s NIRSA Collegiate Soccer Sport Club Championships with high hopes.

    Having gone undefeated in the regular season with a record of 11-0-2, Arizona had every reason to believe it could come home with a national title. Arizona fell just short of its goal, but earned its best finish in school history, third in the tournament, losing to eventual champion Michigan in the semifinals.

    Captain Ryan Ward said that although Arizona finished short of its ultimate goal, the team knows it has earned its place among club soccer’s elite.

    “”(We’re) a little bitter about coming up short,”” Ward said in an e-mail. “”We really did have our chances to score, but we definitely know that we are one of the best teams in the nation, indubitably.””

    The Wildcats opened the tournament Thursday morning with a 1-0 win against Brown. Despite losing to Illinois 1-0 later that night, the Wildcats advanced from pool play into the championship bracket.

    Arizona stayed strong, following up its defeat with a 2-0 victory against Southern Methodist and a 0-0 penalty kick victory against Texas Tech. Senior goalie Guiseppe Demasi blocked a decisive penalty kick from Texas Tech to send Arizona into the semifinals.

    Arizona was finally knocked out of the tournament in a defensive struggle against Michigan. Arizona held the Wolverines scoreless until the 65th minute, giving Michigan a 1-0 edge which Arizona was not able to overcome. Michigan went on to beat Illinois 1-0 for the national championship.

    Arizona’s defense was critical in its playoff run. The defense, which was consistent all season in allowing less than one goal per game, kept to form, allowing only two goals in five games.

    Two Arizona players also took home honors. Seniors Ryan Ward and Omid Aldaghi were both named to the Men’s Championship Division All-Tournament team.

    “”I can’t say enough good things about this team,”” Ward said, “”the best camaraderie, the best determination, persistence in training, hard solid play and heart that everyone put out there.

    “”We left it all on the field.””

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