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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer squeezes in 2 wins

    Arizona midfielder Samantha Drees wedges between two Michigan players in a 1-0 overtime win Friday at Murphey Stadium. Karina Camacho scored the goal to win it for the Wildcats.
    Arizona midfielder Samantha Drees wedges between two Michigan players in a 1-0 overtime win Friday at Murphey Stadium. Karina Camacho scored the goal to win it for the Wildcats.

    Nothing came easy for the Arizona soccer team this weekend.

    Following a test Friday against Michigan (3-4-2) in which the Wildcats emerged with a 1-0 overtime victory, Arizona (6-2-0) found itself being challenged once again Sunday afternoon by California State Northridge (5-3-0).

    After coming within inches of defeat as forward Karina Camacho saved a potential game-winning goal with a lunging bicycle kick out of an open net, the Wildcats once again overcame their struggles to capture their sixth win of the season in a 2-1 double-overtime thriller Sunday, matching their win total from last season.

    “”It was a challenging weekend,”” said UA head coach Dan Tobias. “”But I think we showed some character and kept grinding through it. We didn’t always play our best, but we showed good persistence and if you’re a good team, you need to show that.””

    After the opening half Sunday, which Tobias called his team’s “”worst half of the season,”” forward London King marched to the locker room alone.

    With the Wildcats down by one, frustration could be read all over the senior’s face.

    But as she emerged onto the field in the second half, frustration turned to determination as King led an aggressive offensive assault in the second period’s opening minutes.

    Less than three minutes into the half, the Wildcats’ aggressive play paid off as defender Brianna Caceres punched the ball into the box where King -ÿwith her back to the ball – cleverly used her heel to sneak the ball past Northridge goalkeeper Leah Elliott, putting Arizona on the board and evening the match.

    “”I don’t think we were dangerous enough to finish, and we missed a lot of opportunities,”” King said of Arizona’s first half performance. “”(In the second half) we just wanted to catch (Northridge) off-guard.

    “”We wanted to come in running full force and score in the first couple minutes which we did and that was pretty cool,”” King added.

    The goal sparked an intensity in the Matadors as well, who began to bring a new aggression to the field with increased physicality.

    The culmination of the new intense play came when the Matadors’ Nalena Betancourt and Arizona forward Sally Thurner were both ejected after receiving red cards for a scruff in the game’s 72nd minute.

    While the physical play continued throughout the match, both teams struggled to find open looks, ultimately sending the game into overtime.

    The deadlock broke in the second overtime as forward Renae Cueller – playing on a sprained ankle from Friday night – took a pass from Chelsea McIntyre the length of the field, past two Matador defenders, before knocking the ball past an encroaching Elliott for the game-winning goal and her fifth goal of the year.

    “”I was open on the side and I was just hoping Chelsea would see me,”” Cueller said of the scoring play. “”When (Elliott) came up on me, I was pretty calm and knew I had it. I just saw a wide opening, didn’t freak out and put it in the net.””

    Sunday’s exciting finish came only two days after Arizona outlasted the Wolverines in one overtime Friday night en route to their fourth shutout of the season.

    Following yet another physical game, the two teams went to extra minutes with neither team finding the net.

    The Wolverine defense kept the Wildcats off-balance all night long, as Arizona only managed to place two shots on goal during regulation.

    But then, five minutes into the first overtime, Arizona midfielder Leila Amini centered the ball in the box where Camacho used her head to sneak in the finisher and kept Arizona undefeated this season at home.

    “”Our team did well; we never stopped fighting,”” Camacho said. “”Last year we might not have gotten that goal in overtime.

    “”But this year the team is different,”” she added. “”The attitude is different, and that’s why we’re getting better results.””

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