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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Soccer wins one, draws one at Sun Devil Classic

Playing in its most difficult two-game set of the early season, Arizona soccer (3-1-1) had a productive weekend in Tempe at the Sun Devil Classic, drawing No. 6 Texas A&M on Friday before beating Oklahoma State on Sunday.

Sunday morning’s matchup with Oklahoma State was a tale of two halves for both teams. In the opening 45 minutes, neither the Wildcats nor Cowboys could find an offensive rhythm and went into the locker room scoreless.

Things opened up for both teams in the second half with the Cowboys getting on the board first when they were rewarded a penalty kick in the 58th minute which Allie Stephenson connected on for the 1-0 lead for Oklahoma State.

With just about five minutes remaining in the game and a second loss of the season staring the Wildcats in the face, everything changed for Arizona. Sophomore midfielder Lexe Selman scored her first goal of her career when freshman and fellow midfielder Gabi Stoian found her and tied things up at 1-1 in the 84th minute.

Stoian was far from finished as the Phoenix-area native, playing in front of friends and family in Tempe, gave the Wildcats the lead in the 86th minute when her free kick sailed into the goal for the 2-1 lead. With only seconds remaining, Stoian sealed the deal with yet another goal for the Wildcats, giving them the 3-1 victory.

Stoian had an unstoppable weekend for the Wildcats as she was involved in some way with every goal Arizona scored, finishing with three goals and two assists.

According to a press release, Arizona head coach Tony Amato liked the grit his team showed.

“We showed some great resiliency down a goal with under 10 minutes to go,” Amato said. “To grind out three quality goals to win the game was impressive, and we feel really good about it.”

On Friday night, the Wildcats battled No. 6 Texas A&M to a 2-2 draw in a game that also came down to the last seconds. Arizona was first to score when Stoian fired in a shot from the edge of the penalty area in the 38th minute that found the back of the net.

The Aggies responded quickly, however, knotting the game up at 1-1 just before halftime when Bianca Brinson finished off a cross from one of her teammates.

Much like the first half, the final 45 minutes was a back and forth affair with the Wildcats again taking the lead, this time by way of Haley Estopare’s head. The junior defender received a cross from Stoian and knocked in a header in the 84th minute to push the Wildcats ahead late.

As the final minutes ticked away, Arizona looked like it was going to get one of its biggest upsets in program history, but with only 30 seconds to spare, the Aggies tied it up again with Brinson scoring her second of the game and forcing overtime.

Texas A&M controlled the extra time for the most part but Wildcat goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman thwarted them several times, and a shot of the crossbar ended the game in a stalemate.

Kaufman finished with 11 saves on the night as Texas A&M outshot Arizona 24-16.

Despite A&M’s late equalizer, Amato was happy with the result against a higher-ranked team, according to a press release.

“There’s no question we are pleased with the performance of the team tonight,” Amato said. “Regardless of how the game ended — whether we won, lost or drew — we were proud of their performance. They worked extremely hard. They battled, they grinded and they scored two really good goals. The team showed they can compete at that high level, and we feel good about it.”

—Follow Brian Peel @_brianpeel

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