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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Soccer to play pair of non-conference matches

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA loss to Ohio, Soccer at UA Sunday Sept 19
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA loss to Ohio, Soccer at UA Sunday Sept 19

Before each game, Arizona head soccer coach Lisa Oyen isn’t sure what team will take the field for the next 90 minutes.

Take last weekend for example — the Wildcats battled Central Florida to a 1-1 tie, only to take a 5-1 loss to Ohio State on Sunday. Time will tell which Wildcat team will show up this weekend when Arizona travels to play Loyola Marymount University today at 4 p.m. before hosting Utah (1-9) on Sunday at 7 p.m.

“”I thought Friday we played well, but Sunday, I don’t know what happened,”” said freshman forward Jazmin Ponce. “”We deserved to lose that day, we just didn’t bring it all.””

Central Florida is currently ranked No. 23 in Soccer America’s poll, and if not for a missed penalty kick, the Wildcats may have knocked off the Golden Knights.

If there was an explanation for why Arizona looked like two different teams last weekend, Oyen wouldn’t go any further than chalking it up to the game itself.

“”I think with the game of soccer, even if you play poorly or play well, any team can beat any other team on that day,”” Oyen said. “”But it does kind of show you if we show up and play what we can accomplish, and how when we don’t show up, how quickly a game can get away from us.””

Despite being inconsistent at times, the Wildcats (2-4-2) have made rebounding and responding to adversity part of their identity.

“”(Associate head coach) John Galas pointed it out, sometimes you have to have a short-term memory and be able to get over things and get back at it,”” Oyen said.

“”I think the effort they put into training was good and it wasn’t reactionary to this weekend, it was about wanting to continue to move forward.””

Entering their last string of non-conference games, the Wildcats face a challenging LMU (6-2) side that will enter Friday night’s game having won back-to-back games while recording clean sheets.

Without junior forward Renae Cuellar, who leads the team with six goals scored, the focus for the Wildcats is on establishing a precedent that will carry over from game to game.

“”We want to adequately prepare ourselves with what we learned from the game before so we can make those corrections and lay that basic foundation for the next game,”” Oyen said.

Eight games into the season, Arizona’s slew of freshmen are starting to catch on to the college game.

Ponce, who led the team in shot-attempts the past two games, and Ana Montoya are two budding talents for the Wildcats.

Montoya notched her second goal of the year last weekend, and for her, early success is translating into confidence.

“”I’ve scored twice on the year, which is a positive,”” Montoya said. “”I’m just looking to step up and be more of a leader. I want to be able to score more goals and just be confident enough to know that I can score the game-winning goals too.””

With the Pacific 10 Conference season looming, each game until then will continue to present a learning experience for the young Wildcats team.

“”The energy was really good this week, and the way everyone responded was good, and we want to get back on track. I’m just really excited to play,”” Montoya said.

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