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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona soccer: Wildcats suffer heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 14 UCLA

Alex McIntyre
Arizona midfielder Kelcey Cavarra (6)’s shot slips past UCLA goalkeeper Teagan Micah (20) for the Wildcats’ sole goal against the Bruins at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Oct.13, 2016. The Wildcats lost to the Bruins 1-2.

Disappointed but proud.

The Arizona soccer team scratched and clawed its way into extra time with No. 14 UCLA, but ultimately fell short as Sunny Dunphy scored a golden goal in the 102nd minute to lift the visiting Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Wildcats Thursday night at Mulcahy Stadium.

“I asked the girls to just put in an effort where at the end we can feel proud of the team and what they’re doing and they can be proud of themselves,” Arizona head coach Tony Amato said after the game. “They weren’t happy about the result…[and] I’m not real big on moral victories, but I do think they accomplished that.”

Arizona entered the night with 21 losses in 22 games against UCLA all-time, and the Bruins quickly did their best to remind the Wildcats of that.

UCLA snagged an early 1-0 lead in just the seventh minute of the game, thanks to a goal from Anika Rodriguez.

“It definitely felt like that’s not what we needed in the first seven minutes of the game,” Amato said. “But give the girls credit — they didn’t collapse after that. They got to the half 1-0, which is what we really needed and then that changed things. The effort in the second half was much better.”

Indeed. The Wildcats were able to limit any further damage in the first half then elevated their play in the second half, eventually outshooting the Bruins 12-8.

And in the 66th minute, UCLA’s lead vanished.

UA forward Charlotte Brascia dropped a pass off for freshman midfielder Kelcey Cavarra, who drilled a shot from 20 yards out into the top right corner to the tie things at 1-1.

Cavarra’s first career goal was a big one.

“I just remember taking a touch and I remember watching the goal go in from the ground, hoping that it would somehow get past the keeper and it did,” Cavarra said. “It’s probably one of the best moments of my life.”

Her goal would be the last in regulation and, despite the early deficit, Arizona was able to force extra time against the heavily-favored Bruins.

“If we’re gonna go down, go down fighting,” Amato told his team at the half. “I felt like the first half we were a little passive [thinking] ‘oh we’re playing UCLA and they’ve beaten us so many times’ [so] the message at halftime was ‘get over it’ and they did.”

Arizona continued to battle with UCLA and after the first 10-minute extra time period, the two teams remained knotted at 1-1. Eventually, though, history repeated itself, and UCLA was able to come away with a victory against Arizona once again.

Two minutes into the second extra time period, MacKenzie Cerda dribbled past Arizona’s backline, and crossed to ball to Dunphy who put it home for the game-winning goal.

“I thought we were going to do it tonight,” said senior defender Laura Pimienta of a possible upset. “We put in the work all game, we tied it up, and then overtime, we lost it.”

It was a heartbreaking defeat, but Arizona’s post-game huddle was upbeat.

“We were really proud of the score we put up,” Cavarra said. “Obviously UCLA is a huge factor in the Pac-12 and the fact that we held them at a 1-1 tie for a while and just stuck with the game after we scored was huge for us. Our coaches were proud.”

The Wildcats have now lost six of their last seven games, dropping their record to 6-7-1 and 1-5 in Pac-12 Conference play.

“In a season where we’ve lost some games I think we needed to feel some pride at the end of something even though we didn’t get the result,” Amato said. “And hopefully [this effort] will propel us through the last part of the season.”

Five games remain on Arizona’s schedule, and it returns to action next Thursday when it travels to Eugene, Oregon to face the Oregon Ducks.

You can follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter

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