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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats look to overcome three-game losing streak against No. 15 Washington State

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Alex McIntyre

Arizona midfielder Laura Pimienta (27) goes airborne to snag the ball from Stanford during the Wildcats’ 2-3 loss Sunday, Oct. 4 on Murphy Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium. Pimienta has played in 12 games this season.

Arizona women’s soccer will head to the Pacific Northwest to take on No. 16 Washington State on Friday night after being beaten by the Los Angeles schools over the weekend.

This is a matchup between two teams that are trending toward opposite ends of the standings right now.

The Wildcats (8-4-1, 2-3 Pac-12 Conference) have lost three straight games and quickly fell from a tie for the Pac-12 lead to seventh. The Cougars, on the other hand, have won their last three games putting them at 11-2 for the season and 4-1 in the Pac-12. Washington State sits behind only Stanford in the conference standings.

A big reason for the Cougars’ success this year has been their dynamic offense, which leads the Pac-12 in several offensive categories including goals scored (26), goals per game (2.0) and total points (72).

The Cougars are actually No. 10 in shots taken, despite the high number of goals they score, which is a testament to their efficiency on that end.

Their two offensive stars are Kaitlyn Johnson and Kourtney Guetlein, both of whom are tied for second in the conference for goals scored (6).

The Washington State offense will go up against an Arizona defense that has lately been erratic. The Wildcats had a stout defense early in the season and gave up just seven goals through their first 11 games.

But in the weekend series against UCLA and USC, Arizona gave up eight goals in just two games. Its defense now ranks third to last in the conference in goals allowed.

Which version of Arizona defense shows up could very well determine the outcome of its game with Washington State. Perhaps the Wildcats can get back in shape defensively and prove the weekend in Los Angeles was an anomaly.

If they do manage to get their defense back on track, the Wildcats have a great shot of neutralizing the Cougars’ potent offense. If the defense from the last two games shows up, however, the Wildcats will be in a world of trouble.

The Wildcats will need to find momentum on the other side of the ball as well. The Cougars aren’t a great defensive team—they’re sixth in the conference in goals against average—but their goalkeeper, Ella Dedrick, leads the Pac-12 in saves (69) and save percentage (.863).

The Wildcats’ offense, unlike the defense, didn’t totally struggle in L.A. It still ranks in the top half of the conference in nearly every category.

The Wildcats are in serious need of a win to break their three-game skid, but they’ll need a great effort on both sides of the ball to pull a win out in Pullman, Washington.

If last year’s matchup between these two teams is any indication of how this game may play out, however, it bodes well for Arizona. The Wildcats came away victorious in a convincing 4-1 game.

We’ll see if history repeats itself Friday at 7 p.m.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.


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