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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer hopes high for new season

    Senior London King, left, fights for a loose ball in Sunday nights intrasquad scrimmage at Murphey Stadium. The Wildcats host Cal Poly next Sunday at 7 p.m.
    Senior London King, left, fights for a loose ball in Sunday night’s intrasquad scrimmage at Murphey Stadium. The Wildcats host Cal Poly next Sunday at 7 p.m.

    The Arizona soccer team is more than ready to put the disappointment of last year’s results in the past, if Sunday’s Red-Navy intrasquad game is any indication.

    The Wildcats met at Murphy Stadium in a mixed-roster matchup with the Red squad defeating the Blue 4-1, one week before they host the season opener against Cal Poly.

    “”I thought it was a good step,”” said head coach Dan Tobias. “”We’ve only been training for about a week and you work on certain things in training. You work on defense organization early on. Stuff you’ve been working on, you want to see how well it’s applied in a game where there’s no restrictions and I thought both groups did a really good job.””

    Returning players and newcomers all factored into the back-and-forth affair and it didn’t take long to see the entire team’s eager conviction.

    In the eighth minute, senior forward London King struck first with a chip shot from the left, giving the Red squad a quick lead. King later added a second goal just before the end of the scrimmage. A fellow veteran, junior Jasmine Namdar also netted one for the Red team.

    Freshman defender Amy Steiner showed a flash of brilliance midway through the first half to set up a potential scoring opportunity, but her blast from close in on the left side sailed wide right. Brooke Harrison, another freshman defender, also showed off her offensive skills as she put one in the back of the net halfway through the second half.

    With such strong play prominent with players of all experience levels so far this pre-season, Tobias is very confident in the depth of his Wildcats.

    “”We feel pretty good about where we are, and tonight gives us more information about what we’ll work on in the future,”” Tobias said. “”This class that we have coming in this year, as far as soccer goes, we’ve got a little bit of everything. Goalkeeping, strikers – they’ve all done well.

    “”We’ve got a good balance of returning players with a lot of game experience, and the new players have come in and done a great job too,”” Tobias added.

    Not all went according to plan in the scrimmage as freshman forward Renae Cuellar exited in the fourth minute of the second half with what Tobias said was a bruised knee.

    “”Our deal is keeping the team healthy, keeping them together, and keeping them prepared. We’re gonna use the time nicely when we’re ready to fly here a week from tonight.””

    Healthy is exactly what Arizona needs, after last year’s debacle that saw multiple goalkeepers get sidelined throughout the season due to injuries.

    “”You can plan as well as you can, but unfortunately when injuries happen, for whatever reason, we put too much emphasis on last year,”” Tobias said. “”Injuries just happened to be all at once. We lost four goalkeepers within a couple of weeks. It’s crazy and it’s rare.

    “”I think Chelsea McIntyre looked very, very good,”” Tobias added, “”and with the two new freshman (keepers Ashley Jett and Jenna Riddle), plus Danielle Nicolai, we feel good about the goalkeeping this year.””

    The team has spent the last week training for the season. The official game of the season will take place at Murphy Stadium next Sunday at 7 p.m.

    “”We spent a good portion of that first week on defensive organization,”” Tobias said. “”The better you are defensively, the more organized you are – and the tougher you are one-on-one – the more difficult you make it for the opposing team, and I think we did a fantastic job of embracing that philosophy during the week.””

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