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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soccer to take on 2005 champions

    Sophomore Sally Thurner misses a header off a cross Sunday against Montana at Murphey Field. Thurner and the Wildcats face their toughest nonconference opponent today, No. 6 Portland at home.
    Sophomore Sally Thurner misses a header off a cross Sunday against Montana at Murphey Field. Thurner and the Wildcats face their toughest nonconference opponent today, No. 6 Portland at home.

    Last season, Portland dashed the hopes of the Arizona soccer team in the Sweet 16, beating them 4-0.

    Today, the Wildcats (6-2-0) hope it’s payback time at 4:30 p.m. when they take on the reigning national champs and No. 5-ranked Portland Pilots (5-2-1) at Murphey Field, in a game that will be televised on FSN Arizona.

    The Wildcats lost to the Pilots twice last year, including a 3-0 defeat in the regular season, after having never met Portland before.

    “”They have another great team this year,”” UA head coach Dan Tobias said. “”It’s going to be a great soccer game.””

    Portland, whose only two losses have come against No. 2 Florida State and No. 4 North Carolina, is led by sophomore forward Megan Rapinoe, who has scored nine goals, junior forward Natalie Budge (six goals) and freshman forward Michelle Enyeart (five).

    Underscoring the magnitude of the game, the television appearance marks the first time in Arizona soccer history the Wildcats will appear on the tube in a home game.

    However. receiving another level of exposure doesn’t appear to phase Arizona.

    “”We’ve been on TV before,”” Tobias said. “”It’s about preparing and putting our energies into what we control.””

    Sophomore forward Gianna DeSaverio said that the team will not even take into consideration the fact that the game will be televised. Still she expects one of the biggest crowds of the season due to the television broadcast and the top-notch competition.

    After coming off a nail-biting finish against Montana, Tobias said that the team will use each training opportunity this week to put the team in a better position for the Portland game.

    “”We need to do a better job of controlling possession,”” Tobias said. “”(We) are starting to embrace that. The team is much more diligent in being organized earlier.””

    The Wildcats have created high quality chances partly because Tobias has made a big emphasis on creating chances to score.

    “”I think (not finishing) is related more to physical mistakes, mishitting the ball, not so much mental mistakes,”” he said.

    The team has not played to its fullest

    potential yet, a point which Tobias and players alike emphasize.

    DeSaverio said that the team is going to have to put the pressure on for a full 90 minutes to be able to compete with a team the likes of Portland.

    “”Hopefully this weekend we’ll put it all together,”” she said.

    Sophomore forward Sally Thurner said that although many people aren’t expecting the team to come out with a win, the team is ready to compete against the Pilots.

    “”We’re young, but we’re not going to back down for anyone,”” Thurner said.

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