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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona soccer nonconference grades

Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat The Downtown Pima Community College campus on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

With its two-game home sweep over the weekend, Arizona soccer wrapped up their nonconference schedule with a record of 6-1-1. The Wildcats looked mostly dominate throughout the nonconference portion of the schedule, including being only minutes away from an upset of then-No. 6 Texas A&M at the Sun Devil Classic.

After a slow start to the year that saw the Wildcats drop their second game of the season to Florida Gulf Coast, Arizona is playing its best soccer of the season going into Pac-12 Conference play. The Wildcats are currently on a four-game win streak and are unbeaten in their last six contests.

This Friday, Pac-12 play starts for the Wildcats when they host USC, but before conference play begins, here is a position-by-position report card of the team so far.

Goalkeeping: B

Gabby Kaufman is a fifth-year senior and is playing like it in her final year as a Wildcat. Kaufman has conceited only six goals through eight games played so far and has already racked up four shutouts.

Defense: A-

There has been plenty of consistency in front of Kaufman with the usual starting backline of Mykaylin Rosenquist, Sheaffer Skadsen, Laura Pimienta and Brie DeFelice locking up opposing attackers. Defensively, the Wildcats have used a combination of physicality and organization to limit their opponents to less than 10 shots per game thus far. Alexa Montgomery and Amanda Burke have provided depth off the bench.

Midfield: A

So far in 2014, the midfield has been the best positional group for the Wildcats. Led by super freshman Gabi Stoian, who is tied for most points in the Pac-12 and tied for second in goals, the midfield has been nearly impossible to contain for opposing defenders. The group has moved the ball well inside and on the wings with the likes of Stoian, Lexe Selman, Jaden DeGracie, Hannah Wong, Hayley Estopare, and Julia Glanz, just to name a few.

Forwards: B

After a slow start to the season, senior Alexandra Doller is really starting to pick it up of late, scoring three goals in her last two games. Doller is usually left to fend for herself at the top of the formation but still leads the team, and is third in the conference, in shots with 33. Sophomore Paige Crouch, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, has been a key contributor off the bench with two goals.

Coaching: A

Despite the loss of three highly productive seniors from last year’s team — including Mexican National Team member Jazmin Ponce — the Wildcats are actually off to a better start than they were last year at this point despite a more difficult schedule. Tony Amato always seems to have his team ready to play no matter the competition level.

Nonconference MVP: Gabi Stoian

Nonconference Surprise Player: Paige Crouch

Best Moment of Nonconference: Gabi Stoian’s late-game, two-goal barrage vs. Oklahoma State with LeeAndra Smith’s game winner vs. NAU coming in at a close second.

Follow Brian Peel on Twitter @_brianpeel

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