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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Arizona soccer desperate for a win following three game losing streak

Stanford+defender+Maddie+Bauer+%284%29+beats+Arizonas+Gabi+Stoian+%289%29+to+a+header+on+Sunday%2C+Oct.+4%2C+on+Murphy+Field+at+Mulcahy+Soccer+Stadium+during+the+Wildcats+2-3+loss+to+the+Cardinal+in+the+second+overtime+period.+After+an+8-1-1+start+to+the+season%2C+the+Wildcats+have+fallen+to+8-4-1%2C+including+three-straight+losses+en+route+to+a+2-3+Pac-12+record.
Alex McIntyre

Stanford defender Maddie Bauer (4) beats Arizona’s Gabi Stoian (9) to a header on Sunday, Oct. 4, on Murphy Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium during the Wildcats’ 2-3 loss to the Cardinal in the second overtime period. After an 8-1-1 start to the season, the Wildcats have fallen to 8-4-1, including three-straight losses en route to a 2-3 Pac-12 record.

The Pac-12 Conference is revered as one of the strongest and deepest conferences in all of women’s college soccer, and Arizona is learning it the hard way.

The Wildcats compiled an 8-1-1 record and a 2-0 conference record over their first 10 games—the best start in program history. They picked up impressive wins against No. 23 California, No. 18 Washington and No. 19 Santa Clara, while tying No. 17 Texas Tech.

The Wildcats moved all the way up to No. 15 in the NSCAA Coaches Poll because of their impressive play.

However, they are in serious danger of making their historic start to the season a distant memory.

Arizona has lost its last three games, dropping its record to 8-4-1 overall and 2-3 in the Pac-12. The sudden drop resulted in the Wildcats falling completely out of the top 25 and all the way from tied for first in the conference to seventh.

To be fair, the first loss in the three-game skid to No. 4 Stanford was actually an admirable performance by the Wildcats. They managed to take the top-5 team to extra time, which is quite a feat in its own right, even if the team won’t admit it.

That game obviously didn’t have the outcome Arizona was hoping for, but it did show the Wildcats were truly contenders to become Pac-12 champions.

Or so we thought.

A pitiful weekend series against the Los Angeles schools has the Wildcats in serious need of a regroup. They went into the weekend boasting one of the best offenses and defenses in the conference—they had only allowed seven goals, while scoring 21.

You would have never guessed it this past weekend, however, as they gave up a combined eight goals in the two games, while only scoring two of their own.

The normally stout Wildcat defense didn’t have the same type of fortitude we are used to seeing, and the offense struggled to create quality scoring chances.

The ‘Cats looked like the teams the program would put on the field before Arizona head coach Tony Amato arrived, and the trio of losses has put the Wildcats in a spot familiar to the program—near the bottom of the standings looking up.

But these Wildcats are not the teams of the past. These Wildcats have proven that they can not only compete with the nation’s best teams, but can come away victorious.

What they’re learning, though, is that the Pac-12 requires a consistent effort and execution game-in and game-out. As Amato always says, there are no easy games in this conference. If they don’t play at a high level, their opponents will tear them apart as they witnessed first-hand last weekend.

This weekend will be no different, as the Wildcats’ Pac-12 schedule will pit them against No. 16 Washington State in Pullman, Washington. The Cougars own an 11-2 record and are 4-1 in Pac-12 play. They have also won their past three games.

Needless to say, the Wildcats will need to be on top of their game if they’re going to end their three-game losing streak.
While it’s not exactly a “must-win” game, a loss could drop the ‘Cats all the way to No. 10 or No. 11 in the conference, and the historical start to the season will be all but forgotten.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.


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