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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA soccer loses Pac-12 opener

Cecilia Alvarez
Cecilia Lisset Alvarez / The Daily Wildcat Arizona Women’s Soccer team lost against University of Southern California 0-3 on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

Arizona soccer opened Pac-12 Conference play Friday afternoon at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium but could not secure an upset win over No. 21 USC. The Wildcats (6-2-1) looked like the better team at times against the Women of Troy but were not nearly as clinical at goal, falling 3-0.

In what was a close first 45 minutes that had Arizona outshooting USC 5-3 with several of the Wildcats’ shots on goal, Wildcat freshman midfielder Gabi Stoian hit two quality free kicks from just outside the USC penalty area, but both were saved by USC goalkeeper Caroline Stanley, who finished with three saves on the day.

Arizona head coach Tony Amato said he liked what he saw from the Wildcats early, but USC was able to gain too much momentum in the second half.

“I thought the first half went right,” Amato said. “We had a game plan, and it was playing out exactly how we saw it. Then the second half started, and their first goal, off a set piece — we just didn’t do a good enough job defending it, and that changed the whole game. They got a lot of confidence off that goal, and they started to spread us out and it caused some problems for us.”

The Women of Troy come out of the locker room with a purpose, pressuring the Wildcats on both offense and defense before finally scoring in the 49th minute, when Alex Quincey found open space off a throw-in and knocked it in for the 1-0 lead.

Arizona moved the ball well and found some space in the attacking third, but USC’s defense was always up to the task, blocking several Arizona shots and forcing numerous turnovers.

In the 64th minute, it was USC’s Katie Johnson that was the benefit of a well-set up cross from teammate Sydney Sladek to make it 2-0. Sladek found room on the wing, and her cross had no chance of being defended by the Wildcats. Pushing forward again, the Women of Troy forced a penalty kick when a USC attacker was tripped up in the penalty area in the 73rd minute. But Wildcat goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman stopped Savannah Levin’s shot, diving to her left to keep the deficit at only two.

With Arizona doing all it could to make it close late, USC tacked on one final goal in the 83rd minute when Sladek easily split the pressing Arizona defense to make it 3-0 on a breakaway.

Despite a handful of chances, the Wildcats were unable to score a single goal in the match, making it the first time all season Arizona has been shut out.

“I think we caused some turnovers that led to chances,” Amato said. “USC blocked it, or they recovered quickly. They have two very good center backs who are strong and athletic, and they defend well. Some of those chances became half chances, because they defended it well.”

Next weekend, the Wildcats will try to rebound when Oregon State and Oregon come to Tucson.

Follow Brian Peel on Twitter @_brianpeel

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