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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Soccer shows improvement with co-interim coaches

Despite a 1-0 loss to Washington State on Sunday, the Arizona soccer team finally looked like a team with a pulse.

Although Arizona failed to score for the fourth consecutive game, the team played with tenacity, passion and heart.

All the things they did on Sunday are things they have failed to do all season long.

For the first time this season, the Wildcats competed for a full 90 minutes and looked like a team that expected nothing less than a win.

“”It was a little bit of a different team,”” said co-interim head coach John Galasafter Sunday’s game. “”It’s kind of like the team we’ve been waiting to see in terms of energy level and commitment.””

Galas described the team as a little different, but in fact it was immensely different.

Though the Wildcats couldn’t avoid being shut out for the seventh time this season, their offensive rhythm was drastically improved.

They didn’t allow the opponent to control the game but instead they attacked, not allowing the opponent to relax.

For the first time this season the Wildcats virtually outplayed their opponents, the Washington State Cougars, the entire game, even outshooting them 12-6. This was all done without leading scorer Renae Cuellar, who sat out with flu-like symptoms.

After a 2-0 loss to Washington on Friday night, Galas stressed that the team needed to get more shots and develop a rhythm offensively. Whatever he and co-interim head coach Lisa Oyen did in Saturday’s training session before Sunday’s game should be duplicated for the remaining practices, because it worked.

One of the most telling plays of the entire weekend was made by midfield redshirt junior Alex Davis.

In the middle of the first half in Sunday’s game, it appeared that Washington State’s goalkeeper would get to the ball outside the penalty box, but Davis hustled up the field to kick the ball past the goalkeeper, who had made her way about 20 feet out of net. The ball rolled in front of the net until it went out of bounds on the opposite side of the goal, missing the net by about a foot.

Though Davis couldn’t get the ball in the net on the play, the effort was confirmation that the team came into the game with a new attitude.

The effort displayed by the Wildcats made them a team that was easy to root for, and even made it hard to watch them lose on a questionable penalty kick awarded to Washington State after they had clearly outplayed the Cougars for most of the game.

Some will attribute the team’s newfound energy to the coaching change; I wouldn’t go that far just yet.

But if the team continues to play this well and earns a few wins, I might have to reconsider. And then, Athletic Director Jim Livengood would have to consider both Oyen and Galas as head coaching candidates.

— Vincent Balistreri is a journalism junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

 

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