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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Soccer loses two in San Diego

    The Arizona Wildcats soccer team began the Lisa Oyen era with a pair of losses over the weekend – No. 22 University of San Diego handed Arizona a 4-1 loss on Friday night, and the Wildcats dropped Sunday afternoon’s match 4-2 to Pepperdine University.

    Despite not getting the results Oyen was looking for, she remained confident that the weekend’s games would help the process of strengthening her team.

    “”It was a tough weekend for us obviously, but we’re coming out of our first weekend playing teams who had a match under their belt,”” Oyen said.

    “”We’re fairly young, and although the results were very disappointing, I think myself, the staff and the players still have a lot of confidence in what we can still accomplish.””

    The Wildcats were tested from the get-go from a sharp USD (3-0-0) side on Friday night. The Toreros paced their offense steadily throughout the game, netting three goals in the first half and tacking on the fourth in the second half.

    While USD recorded 10 shot attempts and six on goal, Pepperdine struck early on Sunday by scoring a trio of goals in the first 10 minutes of play.

    USD and Pepperdine featured offensive attacks that tested freshman goalkeeper Lorena Aragon, who made her Arizona debut on Friday night.

    Even though Aragon allowed eight goals over the weekend, she was able to find a rhythm as each match went on, and Oyen was satisfied overall with the freshman’s effort.

    “”(Aragon) actually came up and had some big saves for us,”” Oyen said. “”The goals weren’t necessarily errors on her part, but they were more errors we had as a group defensively.

    “”I think for her to get some games in – obviously they were tough because of the results – but she came up big on a lot of different areas,”” Oyen added.Freshmen Ana Montoya and Kenzie Akerfelds also showed promise on Friday night as they each had a shot attempt on goal.

    Arizona’s 2009 leading scorer, junior Renae Cuellar, appeared in midseason form over the weekend by recording an assist on a cross to set up sophomore Brittany Cole’s goal against USD in the 53rd minute, and notched two goals of her own on Sunday against Pepperdine in the 16th and 88th minutes.

    When asked about the importance of Cuellar to the Wildcats’ success, Oyen said that she would look for the junior’s maturity and instincts to help Arizona in every match, but that hopefully Cuellar’s play would open up opportunities for players around her like it did for Cole against USD.

    “”(Cuellar) is a dangerous, attacking player that’s always going to be a threat,”” Oyen said. “”She does provide that leadership, and she has proven that she can produce and be dangerous, but are we always going to rely on her? No, because she has some very talented teammates around her that she can look to setup.””

    In both matches, the Wildcats fell behind early, but were able to bounce back and turn in better results in the second half.

    Whether it was a case of early season rust or the team’s youth, Oyen hopes to avoid making playing catch-up a habit.

    “”I think we showed that we are a team that is going to fight back, but we need to be a team where we don’t put ourselves in situations where we’re fighting back from the very beginning,”” Oyen said.

    “”We knew we were going to be tested against two good opponents, and it gives us a good indicator of where we’re at, and what are strengths and weaknesses are,”” she said.

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