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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Frosh Cuellar impressive in early outing

    Arizona soccer head coach Dan Tobias knew he had someone special in forward Renae Cuellar even before she arrived in Tucson.

    The freshman simply exuded confidence. During the recruiting process, Cuellar told Tobias she wanted to break every Arizona scoring record.

    “”I thought, ‘That’s the mentality every coach wants to see, especially from players who score goals,'”” Tobias said of his young recruit’s comment. “”And she came here very prepared and is very, very driven.””

    It didn’t take long for Tobias’ faith in the former American and Mexican youth national team participant to be rewarded.

    After missing the team’s first game with a concussion suffered during Arizona’s intrasquad scrimmage, Cuellar proved she wasn’t just blowing smoke last Friday evening as she began her Wildcat career with a goal in her first two minutes on the field – a goal which went on to become the difference in a 4-0 win against Utah.

    “”It was really exciting,”” Cuellar said of her goal. “”I was nervous at first being put into (a starting role) but I wasn’t nervous when I got the ball and I just tried to take advantage and put it in the goal.””

    This weekend Cuellar will get a chance to further advance upon her previous

    statement when Arizona (2-1-0) takes on Weber State (1-1-1) tonight at 7 at Murphy Stadium and No. 8 Texas (3-0-0) Sunday afternoon in Austin.

    Sunday’s matchup with the Longhorns comes with extra emphasis for Cuellar, who despite being from California has much of her father’s family in Texas, therefore making the game much like a home game.

    “”For me (Texas) is a big match and I’m pretty excited for it,”” Cuellar said. “”But really any team I play I think of as a big match, you can’t underestimate anyone, so I’ll go in with the same mentality as I would for any other team.””

    Cuellar’s mature attitude and mindset are not only attributes she exhibits on the soccer field, but they stem from her strength in the classroom as well.

    Through high school, the three-time offensive player of the year also earned accolades as a scholar athlete three times. She was also on the honor role each year.

    Now, as she enters college with a similar emphasis on school as a biology major, Cuellar’s intelligence and discipline in the classroom have impacted her behavior on the soccer field – something her teammates and coaches have noted.

    “”I think (her intelligence) has a huge part in (her on-field success) since she understands things both on and off the field,”” midfielder Sam Drees said of Cuellar. “”She does well with reading balls and that’s a huge thing that some people sometimes have problems with.””

    While Cuellar looks to shine against Texas this weekend because of her familiar audience, many other Wildcats see other motivation in the matchup.

    In addition to wanting a repeat performance of last year’s 2-0 home upset over the then-No. 3-ranked Longhorns, Drees said she always looks forward to playing the team and coach she almost called her own.

    “”For me (the Texas game) is a little difference because I almost went there,”” Drees said. “”It’s one of those things. I don’t like their coach (during game time) and I just really want to beat them. So for me that’s a big

    driving force.””

    With the top-10 team on deck, the task for Tobias and the rest of the Wildcats is to first aim their focus on

    Weber State.

    Although they enter tonight’s match unranked, the Weber State Wildcats are two-time defending champions of the Big Sky Conference and are led by conference Coach of the Year

    Tim Crompton.

    Meanwhile, Arizona is coming off a loss to BYU in which Arizona struggled to find a rhythm, or the net, in a game eerily similar to many of last year’s

    disappointments.

    “”We try to think of the season as a process,”” Tobias said. “”As long as we’re doing our best today without looking forward, without looking back – you have to do that if you’re going to put forth a championship effort on

    each day.

    “”It’s all about what happens on that particular day,”” he added, “”and I think our team does a pretty good job of staying in the moment and putting our attention on what we can control.””

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