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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

‘Cats face pair of tough matches

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Soccer v. Cal Poly
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Soccer v. Cal Poly

Now that the monkey has jumped off the Arizona soccer team’s back, the Wildcats can look to build on their first win of the season.

“”We’re just ready to keep rolling,”” said senior Alex Davis.

Arizona faces two teams from power conferences this weekend: Nebraska Cornhuskers, from the Big Ten Conference, on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Tennessee Lady Volunteers, from the Southeastern Conference, on Sunday at 11 a.m. — both in the Sun Devil Desert Classic hosted by Arizona State in Tempe.

In their first two matches at home, the Wildcats showcased a well-rounded and balanced game that head coach Lisa Oyen thought was indicative of her team’s potential.

While Oyen and her players aren’t particularly familiar with their opponents this weekend, they expect the game to be a little more physical and aggressive with a different brand of soccer to match up against.

“”We’re not necessarily going to see the soccer we’re used to seeing on the West Coast, but it’ll be a good test for us to see a little different style of play,”” Oyen said.

The Cornhuskers (4-1) are riding a four-game winning streak, while the Lady Volunteers (2-2) are fresh off a game against top-ranked North Carolina, so the Wildcats will likely face 180 minutes of fast-paced and competitive soccer.

“”They’re a little bit bigger, they can hit a little harder, they have some personality players, but so do we,”” Davis said about Nebraska and Tennessee. “”Hopefully we’ll just one-up them, and just take it to them.””

Perhaps the biggest thing to watch for this weekend will be to see if Arizona can maintain consistent play from its back four.

The Wildcats made a strong week-to-week adjustment to play more lockdown defense and had two positive results as a reward.

“”Up front you can be more creative, and kind of make those mistakes I guess, but (Oyen) always tells us you can’t make mistakes on defense or else you get punished more,”” Davis said. “”We’ve been doing really well with that since the first weekend where we let down a bit, but we’ve definitely picked it back up and figured things out a bit.””

Arizona’s chemistry on the field was noticeable in its win over Cal Poly last weekend, and the all-around communication from the back four to the offense was critical in earning the positive result.

Senior Macke Mutz credited the team’s willingness to work hard and work toward the same goals as the reason for the team’s rapport on the field so far, and thinks this weekend will help the Wildcats become even more comfortable with each other.

“”The girls that are a part of the team this year, we all seem to be on the same page as far as work ethic, what we want from the season, what we want to get,”” Mutz said.

“”I think the overall attitude is a lot better on the field.””

 

Cuellar banged up, expected to play

Junior scoring artist Renae Cuellar took a few bumps and hits in last Sunday’s 4-2 win over Cal Poly, a game in which she sent two shots to the back of the net to give her a team-leading four goals.

Cuellar walked with a slight limp in practice during this week, but when Oyen was asked whether the junior would be ready for the weekend, she said it was simply just part of the grind of a long season.

“”All of our players are always going to have little things that they have to deal with, but (Cuellar’s) a fighter, she’s a competitor,”” Oyen said implying that she expects to see Cuellar on the field against Nebraska.

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