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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Aguilla’s stunner gets Arizona soccer back on track

Alexandra Pere
Sabrina Enciso, 16, evades the Houston Baptist forward during the Houston Baptist vs Arizona soccer game at the Mulcahy Stadium on Sunday. Enciso scored the third goal of the first half with a volley from the middle of the 18th.

Jill Aguilera scored a game-winning golden goal to give the Wildcats their first Pac-12 conference win of the season on Sept. 27. The Arizona women’s soccer team hosted the Utah Utes Thursday night and won 2-1 after 108 minutes of play.

Big time players stepped up in big moments to decide this game for Arizona. The game remained scoreless during the first half. The Wildcats maintained most of the possession, but when Utah did get scoring opportunities, they were dangerous.

Utah scored early in the second half when Paola van der Veen was able to get in the box and play a square ball to Ireland Dunn, who then cut away from two defenders, put it on her right foot and ripped a shot from six yards out at the 48th minute.

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Arizona responded two minutes later when a corner kick was taken in favor of the Wildcats. Utah’s goalkeeper, Carly Nelson, was able to punch it away but put it right in the middle of the box where Aguilera was flying in. She struck a volley in the back of the net, giving Arizona a chance to stay in the game.

“The best thing for us to do is respond well, and I think that we did that. Set pieces is something that we work really hard on, and I think that being able to execute on that is really important to show that all of our hard work has been paying off,” said Aguilera.

Being tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time means getting to play more soccer. The Wildcats and Utes had to battle it out in overtime with one goal changing the fate of one of these two teams.

During the 105th minute, Wildcat goalkeeper Lainey Burdett made a spectacular save from a Utah diving header. She said she was happy to be able to keep her team in the game. One goal would have made all the difference.

The goal that did make the difference took place in the 108 minute, when Aguilera received the ball, took a preparation touch to her left foot and struck a rocket into the back of the net from 25 yards out to win the game for Arizona.

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“That was unbelievable. She has the ability to do that, and she got in on her left foot and just stepped into it and hit it,” said head coach Tony Amato after celebrating the team’s victory.

Aguilera admits that the last time she scored two goals in one game was on her club soccer team. None of her goals in club were anything like this golden game winner.

“That goal for sure in my college career and my career in general is definitely one that I’ll always remember,” she said.

Amato said he is sure that this won’t be the last time an Aguilera goal makes everyone go, “Did you see that?”

“I think you’ll see her confidence continue to grow and score goals for us,” he said.

The Wildcats were able to recover from a 2-0 loss on the road to No. 1 Stanford by beating Utah 2-1. Pac-12 conference play continues when Arizona hosts the University of Colorado Buffaloes Sunday, Sept. 30 at 12 p.m. in Mulcahy Stadium.

Follow Maury Urcadez on Twitter

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