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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Soccer faces rival ASU in last home game

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Savannah Douglas
Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat Hayley Estopare (center) and Brie DeFelice (right) go after the ball against Colorado on Sunday at home.

In its final game of the regular season, Arizona soccer (8-7-4, 3-6-1 Pac-12 Conference) takes on ASU this Thursday at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium. For three Wildcats — Jazmin Ponce, Ana-Maria Montoya and Shannon Heinzler — Thursday afternoon’s game will be their final home game at Arizona.

Ponce, whose 10 goals this season tie her for second-most in the Pac-12, said games with ASU are unlike any other games on the Wildcats’ schedule.

“It’s just a different game,” Ponce said. “Both teams are just out to get each other because it’s a rivalry.”

Last weekend, Arizona won its first home game in more than a month when the Wildcats beat Colorado 3-0 on Sunday after suffering a 1-0 overtime defeat Friday at the hands of Utah. The victory over Colorado bumped the Wildcats up to ninth place in the conference and gives them the chance to jump as high as seventh place with a victory over the Sun Devils.

In Arizona’s 3-0 victory over Colorado, Wildcat junior forward and former Sun Devil Ali Doller scored her seventh goal of the season. Doller said she is excited about playing against her former team because she still has friends on the ASU team, but her Wildcat teammates, including goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman, will also be lending her plenty of support.

“It’s always a big rivalry game for every sport,” Kaufman said. “We have Ali Doller on our team and we all have her back, which gives us a little extra fight, but every game against ASU is going to be a battle.”

ASU (9-7-2, 4-4-2 Pac-12) is coming off a successful weekend against Colorado and Utah, pulling out a tie against the Buffs on Friday followed by a 2-1 overtime victory over the Utes on Sunday.

Despite being tied for fifth in the conference standings, the Sun Devils have been average on offense and defense this season, ranking near the bottom of the Pac-12 in both goals scored and goals allowed.

ASU’s offense is led by sophomore forward Cali Farquharson, who, like Ponce, is tied for second-best in the conference with 10 goals. Senior forward Devin Marshall has six goals of her own to go along with three assists.

Wildcat head coach Tony Amato said he understood the magnitude of the ASU rivalry as soon as he arrived in Tucson.

“Obviously, from the first second I got here, I was hit with how important that rivalry is,” Amato said. “It sets up perfectly for us coming off a good game with a couple days to prepare. It’s something that we really want — to make sure we are the best team in the state and try and get the result from the first season I’m here. We are going to put everything we have into the game, and I think the girls will respond to it.”

Thursday’s “Red-Out” game begins at 2 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

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