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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona soccer wins its first game at NAU, ends losing streak at nine

It was a mid-field showcase in Flagstaff on Sunday, as junior mid-fielders Susana Melendez and Ana-Maria Montoya led the Wildcats to a shutout victory over the NAU Lumberjacks 3-0.

“It feels good to get the first win of the season,” head coach Lisa Oyen said. “To be three games in and have a multitude of shots to be able to finish, it’s an off-take-ish feeling because we worked really hard to come out with a win.”

Getting a win three games into the season is a far cry from how things went in 2011. Last season, the Wildcats won just one out of 18 games and didn’t even get that victory until 13 games in.

This weekend’s victory broke the nine-game losing streak extending from last season as the first win for the team since Oct. 7, 2011, which was another shutout performance against Oregon, and the first time the Wildcats scored three goals in a match since Sept. 12, 2010.

The Wildcats came out strong in the first half with a consistent attack effort. With less than eight minutes remaining in the game, junior mid-fielder Susana Melendez scored off a soft header giving Arizona the early lead 1-0.

With about four minutes left in the first half, junior mid-fielder Ana-Maria Montoya lined up for a free kick. She struck the ball and it sailed into the net on the upper left side, giving the Wildcats momentum as they headed into the half with a 2-0 lead.

Arizona ended the half with 10 shots, five of which were on goal — NAU took three shots in the first half.

In effort to change things up and stop Arizona from scoring any more goals in the second half, NAU brought in back-up goalkeeper Natalie Gilbertson. The Wildcats came out with a strong answer to the lineup change in just under three minutes of the second half. Montoya lined up for a mid-field free kick, and lobbed it just over Gilbertson’s head in the upper right corner, putting Arizona in a commanding lead the rest of the game 3-0.

“Ana-Maria’s goals were gorgeous,” Oyen said. “She hit those so well with a lot of confidence.

That’s the thing we have been talking to our players about when we have those situations, to be composed and confident and take their time in hitting them. It’s a balance between a lot of focus and being relaxed and doing what you want to do with the ball. ”

With Montoya’s two goals, she already tied last year’s team-leading total of Jazmin Ponce, who scored two goals on the season. As a team, the Wildcats scored seven goals all of last season, a total which they are just three goals away from matching this year.

The Wildcats almost scored a fourth goal with just minutes left in the game, but the referee waved it off after NAU’s goalkeeper Gilbertson went down hard.

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