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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer fights for postseason

    UA forward London King approaches the ball during Arizonas 2-0 loss to Washington on Oct. 14 at Murphey Stadium. After a win and a tie at the Oregon schools last weekend, the Wildcats return home to face No. 4 Stanford tonight and California on Sunday.
    UA forward London King approaches the ball during Arizona’s 2-0 loss to Washington on Oct. 14 at Murphey Stadium. After a win and a tie at the Oregon schools last weekend, the Wildcats return home to face No. 4 Stanford tonight and California on Sunday.

    Midfielder London King may very well have saved the Arizona soccer team’s season last weekend, scoring a goal in games at Oregon State and Oregon.

    She nailed the game-winner in double overtime against the Beavers to lead the Wildcats to their first conference win of the season on Oct. 19. Behind another King goal two days later, Arizona pulled out a 2-2 tie against the Ducks, keeping the team still very much alive in the NCAA Tournament hunt.

    London “”was just awesome (last) weekend. It was great to see,”” said UA head coach Dan Tobias. “”I’m really happy with where we’re at as a team. We’re still in position; it’s just game to game right now.””

    To keep their tournament hopes alive, the Wildcats (6-8-1, 1-2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) will need another big weekend when No. 4 Stanford (12-2-2, 1-1-1) invades Murphey Field tonight at 7 and California (8-5-0, 0-3) on Sunday afternoon at 1.

    Arizona has yet to string together consecutive wins since its four-game winning streak in early September. Since then, the Wildcats have gone 2-7-1 while scoring a combined four goals.

    A lack of scoring has devastated Arizona, as four of its losses during this stretch came by 1-0 scores. In fact, the Oregon trip marked the first time the Wildcats managed to score in both of their weekend games since Sept. 7-9.

    “”Mentally, we just have to stay mentally focused and prepared,”” said midfielder Jacqueline Broussard. “”Stanford is No. 4, but at this point rankings don’t even matter. We know we have to win every game ahead of us, so we just have to be mentally and physically prepared for this weekend.””

    With Arizona on the verge of breaking out of its scoring slump, leadership from the team’s elder players could prove to be vital. When the Wildcats fell into a slump near the end of last season, they had no seniors to step into a leadership role. This year, the team features a trio of seniors helping the team remain afloat in its postseason search.

    “”I think (leadership) is a lot more important right now,”” said senior defender Kaity Heath. “”This is sometimes where girls start to see that we’re almost done. So it’s good to have me and (senior defender) Claire (Bodiya) out there to really push everyone.””

    Leadership from the seniors will be extra important, as regular goalkeeper Danielle Nicolai will likely miss her second straight weekend. Nicolai suffered a concussion Oct. 14 against a loss to Washington at home.

    “”She’s still day-to-day,”” Tobias said of Nicolai. “”With those head injuries, you have to pass a series of tests, and our medical staff, like any other, doesn’t mess around with those things.””

    Backup goalkeeper Halley Brown has not given the team much reason to become discouraged. Brown hauled in 13 saves in two games last weekend, allowing only two goals. Her stellar play gives Arizona one less thing to worry about in tonight’s matchup.

    “”Halley has come in and done just a great job,”” Tobias said. “”I haven’t heard anybody saying ‘Oh, no we’re down to our fifth goalkeeper.’ Everybody is really positive regarding the situation.

    “”That sort of attitude, I think, will really help us down this final stretch.””

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