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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Quick kicks

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Wildcat soccer team hosted the University of San Francisco in a college soccer game Sunday, Oct. 3., 2010, at Murphy Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona rode two second-half goals to hold off the Dons in a 2-1 victory.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcat soccer team hosted the University of San Francisco in a college soccer game Sunday, Oct. 3., 2010, at Murphy Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona rode two second-half goals to hold off the Dons in a 2-1 victory.

The Arizona Wildcats soccer team hit a speed bump this past weekend after dropping both of its opening conference matches to Washington and Washington State.

As head coach Lisa Oyen and her squad move forward, there are some wrinkles that Arizona will have to iron out if they want to make some noise in the Pacific 10 Conference.

What is the x-factor?

Sometimes, teams need that extra player, game or play that pushes them over the edge.

Arizona is currently 0-2 in the Pac-10, and holds a 4-7-2 record a little past the halfway point in the 2010 season.

At times, the Wildcats have displayed the talent and potential of a very strong soccer team, playing to a 1-1 tie against once ranked Central Florida, and several times putting together strong halves of play but failing to maintain the same energy for a complete match as recently as this past weekend.

So what is Arizona’s x-factor? What pushes them over the edge in the games the Wildcats play the best?

While a lot can be said for the tangible issues that Oyen has referenced, like having a strong attacking presence and keeping the back four strong, it all amounts to a recurring theme commonly mentioned in Arizona’s losses.

Consistency.

It might sound like a coach’s cliché, and it might sound like a broken record by now, but the ability to sustain the same level of energy from the first whistle to the last has been Arizona’s chronic hurdle this season.

“”It’s frustrating, we’ve shown this year we can compete with any team. It’s not necessarily something you can teach,”” Oyen said on Sunday. “”I think they know now that in the Pac-10 they’re going to need to play a complete game.””

Against Washington in their Pac-10 opener, the Wildcats went into halftime with a 1-0 lead and were 45 minutes away from a huge result. In the second half though, they let up four Husky goals en route to a 4-1 loss, and according to Oyen, Arizona looked like a different team.

But playing with high energy won’t guarantee positive results.

The Wildcats play a rigid conference schedule, and they will be matched up against elite talent that won’t be defeated by high energy alone.

Despite the losing record, Arizona’s soccer program is on the right track to rebuilding a positive reputation, and win or lose, playing with high energy can play a small role establishing a new identity for the Wildcats.

So instead of Oyen continuing to harp on maintaining focus for a full match, it has to be the Arizona’s own competitive drive on display in each match that will lead them to a respectable conference record.

Freshmen impact by the numbers

Arizona’s 2010 recruiting class has wasted no time earning playing time, making up the majority of the starting 11 Wildcats on the field.

Collectively, the freshmen have combined for over half (54.8) of Arizona’s shots offensively, and currently six first-year Wildcats have worked their way into a starting job.

“”They’ve played with sophistication and maturity,”” Oyen said.

Jensen Skinner and Jazmin Ponce remain in the Topdrawersoccer.com’s College Freshmen Top 100 at 57th and 81st, respectively.

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