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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CatScratch

    PRO

    Wildcats need balance

    Someone please paint a wall eggshell white, and let me watch it dry.

    That will be more exciting than watching the Arizona soccer team’s contests with Washington and Washington State this weekend. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a diss to any of the three teams. It’s more of a compliment.

    The reason for the projected monotony? Great defense, especially by Arizona.

    It will be a low-scoring weekend for the Wildcats, the Huskies and the Cougars at Murphey Stadium this weekend. All three teams are the three worst in the Pacific 10 Conference in goals scored through Oct. 3, yet all are at the top of the list in saves.

    Arizona, however, is last of the three.

    Opening up conference play against WSU tomorrow, and UW on Sunday, the main goal for the Wildcats is to get that 16-ounce ball to tickle the net behind the goal a few times each game. Their defense isn’t too shabby, but it needs to be balanced out with a splash of “”O.”” Their offense is what needs some oomph.

    True, the Wildcats have given up only four goals in the last five games, but they were also shut out in those four games, losing by a goal in each. In total, they’ve been shut out five times this season by a sum of 8-0.

    Arizona forwards and midfielders need to be more aggressive to get on the board and spare the team another slide like last year’s 482-minute scoring drought (Arizona is currently working on a 225-minute scoreless stretch after having a 282-minute drought broken Sept. 28 against Creighton). Arizona takes an average of 9.6 shots per game, while the Huskies take 10.7 and the Cougars swing for 16.6. If the Wildcats don’t take the shots, there is no way for them to score.

    Even defender Claire Bodiya has a goal this season, but midfielder Sam Drees has yet to score. Matching up against WSU goalie Brynn Bemis, who holds a .818 save percentage, won’t help the cause.

    If the Wildcats can find a way around her, it may be good enough reason to tear me away from that wall.

    -Lance Madden
    assistant sports editor

    CON

    Answer is finish strong

    After practice Tuesday, UA soccer head coach Dan Tobias kept several of his team’s key offensive players on the field for an extra 20 minutes or so. Tobias led his players through various drills in which they had to make a quick move with the ball before firing it into specific areas of the net marked off by two tall flags.

    Although these drills were simply yet another practice exercise for the players, there is no doubt they are being done with a higher level of intensity given the Wildcats’ scoring troubles of late. Arizona has scored only two goals in its previous five contests, with both coming against the lowly Creighton Blue Jays.

    However, if I have learned one thing about the Arizona soccer team these past two months, it is that the team exudes confidence. This was apparent even when the Wildcats hit a three-game losing streak after starting their season 4-1 and even now after they have lost their last two and had more difficulty putting the ball in the net than a blind squirrel.

    Yet even despite these disappointments, the players as well as the coaching staff continue to claim they are just a strong finish away from getting back on track offensively.

    This may well be true. Arizona’s offense, as Tobias has pointed out often, has not been held scoreless due to a lack of effort. Far from it.

    The Wildcats have led their opponents in total shots in all but two games this season. Based off Tobias’ logic: “”If the goal is to create good, quality scoring chances, mission accomplished.””

    Now, this weekend will not be a breeze for the Wildcats by any means, especially with Washington State coming into town. The Cougars are currently 7-1-2 and have posted five shutouts. But Sunday’s matchup against Washington will be very favorable for Arizona, as the Huskies are only 3-7-0 with one shutout.

    With Arizona so close to turning its fortunes and becoming the dangerous offensive team it showed signs of being early in the year, it should be nearly impossible for the Wildcats to finish the weekend without a goal.

    It will be important for Arizona to continue attacking and peppering the net with shots. All the Wildcats need is one. As forward Jasmin Day said earlier this season, “”Once you get that first goal, they just start to flow.””

    -Bobby Stover
    sports writer

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