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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


6 UA athletes to watch in 2016-17

Alex McIntyre
Arizona soccer’s Gabi Stoian (9) fights for the ball while playing against Stanford at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015Arizona soccer’s Gabi Stoian (9) fights for the ball while playing against Stanford at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015

In recent years, the UA has showcased its talent at every level of athletics.

And every year, there are a select group of student-athletes that capture the spotlight, at not only the conference level, but nationally as well. This year, six Wildcats will look to meet the high expectations placed on their shoulders.

Gabi Stoian, Junior, Soccer

Despite missing six games, Gabi Stoian led the Arizona soccer team in goals and assists with 6 and 8 respectively as a sophomore, helping the team reach the Sweet Sixteen in one of the program’s best seasons. She was also named to the All-Pac-12 First Team.

As a freshman in 2014, Stoian scored 13 goals and had seven assists, putting together one of the best individual seasons in program history.

Currently, Stoian is fifth on the program’s all-time scoring list, and is 13 goals away from tying Mallory Miller, who scored 32 goals as a Wildcat.

Stoian is on pace to shatter Miller’s record and it could happen in the upcoming season. And when all is said and done, it’s possible Stoian graduates as the program’s best player of all time.

JC Cloney, Senior, Baseball

The Arizona baseball team shocked the college baseball world this year. The team was predicted to finish ninth in the Pac-12 Conference, but instead advanced all the way to the College World Series Finals.

A big reason for the team’s success was its starting pitching trio of Bobby Dalbec, Nathan Bannister and JC Cloney.

Bannister graduated and Dalbec signed with the Boston Red Sox, so Cloney will be tasked with being the team’s ace in the 2016-17 season.

Cloney showed he’s capable of doing just that, as he had a 2.61 ERA in 13 starts in the 2015-16 season.

Making it back to the CWS Finals will be the team’s goal once again, but it’ll only get there if Cloney can repeat—if not improve on—his performance this past season.

Krystal Quihuis, Junior, Women’s Golf

Women’s golf at Arizona is arguably the most underrated squad on campus.

It doesn’t necessarily receive the fan appreciation the same way other major sports get, but the UA is a national contender year in and year out, nonetheless.

Playing in the stacked Pac-12 can be difficult, but when the going gets tough, junior Quihuis has stepped up at every oppotunity since she arrived on campus.

Quihuis didn’t become one of Arizona’s premier golfers until just last season, but her fifth place finish on the individual boards at the Pac-12 Championships proved that even though she’s young, she’s capable of coming through in crucial moments for head coach Laura Ianello.

LaBrittney Jones, Senior, Women’s Basketball

Incoming head coach Adia Barnes has her work cut out for her in terms of rebuilding what has been a sluggish Arizona women’s basketball program, and she will have to lean on leading scorer LaBrittney Jones.

Jones enters her final season as the Wildcats’ leader in blocks with 23. She also had 28 steals, hitting 73.3 percent of her free throws and shooting 12.6 points per game.

The three seasons she’s played in Tucson are forgettable, but a stellar senior season with a new environment is possibly brewing.

Allonzo Trier, Sophomore, Men’s Basketball

It’s bizzare to say that a sophomore is the veteran presence of the Arizona basketball team, but considering the squad’s perceived stars are mostly freshmen, sophomore guard Allonzo Trier will be Sean Miller’s go-to player in the 2016-17 season.

Trier is the Wildcats’ returning leading scorer, averaging 14.8 points per game in his freshman season.

Trier possesses scoring abilities that only a few have, but he decided to forgo the NBA Draft to polish his all-around game at the UA instead, putting him in position to have a stellar sophomore season.

Danielle O’Toole, Senior, Softball

After advancing to Super Regionals in 2015-16, the Arizona softball team is expected to do even bigger things in 2016-17, given that the team returns most of its impact players.

One of which is the team’s ace — Danielle O’Toole. O’Toole, a transfer from San Diego State, had a strong junior season in her first year with the Wildcats. She posted a 2.17 ERA in 216 innings, along with a Pac-12-high 26 wins.

Her excellence led her to be named to the All-Pac-12 First Team, the first Wildcat pitcher to do so since 2010.

She then continued her dominance in the postseason.

The Wildcats swept the Knoxville, Tennessee Regional and O’Toole pitched 19.1 innings and posted a 1.09 ERA in the team’s three wins.

O’Toole will look to build off her success as a senior, and if she does, Arizona will be a force to be reckoned with in 2016-17.

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