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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona soccer: Gabi Stoian making an impact despite being scoreless

Five different players have scored in Arizona soccer’s first three games, but Gabi Stoian, who has led the team in scoring the past two seasons, isn’t one of them.

Stoian leads the team in shots taken (12) and shots on goal (7), but hasn’t been able to find the back of the net yet.

“I think I’ve contributed to the team, but obviously I haven’t gotten one into the goal yet so that’s a little frustrating sometimes, especially when we’ve tied games or lost them,” Stoian said.

Stoian has two points — thanks to two assists — this season, but considering the Wildcats are already three games into the season, Stoian’s statistical production is noticeably down.

However, Arizona head coach Tony Amato cautioned that an absence in the stat-sheet isn’t exactly indicative of how she’s performed.

“She’s just super important to what we do, even if she doesn’t show up on the stat-sheet.” he said. “Everyone that watches the games [can see it]. I had a prospect watch a game online and go ‘I really like number nine” (Stoian). [Stoian] didn’t score in the game, but even a 16-year-old prospect can watch it and go ‘that number nine is a good player’”.

Opposing teams see it too, leading them to send waves of defenders at the midfielder.

“Last game (against Texas Tech) they were closing me every time I took one touch too many and when I was going for the shot, I got blocked,” Stoian said.

While the double and triple teams have made it more difficult for Stoian to score, it’s creating opportunities for her teammates.

“[Stoian’s] a good player and is making other things happen,” Amato said. “And when she’s playing well, if she’s not scoring it’s maybe because three or four people are closing her down and it’s opening chances for Paige [Crouch] and Cali [Crisler] and they’re capitalizing on that.”

Still, as someone that’s used to putting the ball in the back of the net, Stoian has admittedly been frustrated about having a zero in the goal column.

But it’s only a matter of time before she breaks through.

“They triple team her. That makes it really hard,” said UA midfielder Jaden DeGracie-Bailey. “I’ve never heard her complain once about that. She just plays through it… And the best thing about Gabi is that [a goal] will come when we really need it, against the best teams.”

And Stoian’s approach to making it happen is simple.

“Just take more shots and they’re bound to go in.”


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter


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