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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Trojans, Bruins top UA soccer”

UA defender Analisa Marquez, back, fights for position with a UCLA defender during the Bruins 2-0 win Sunday at Murphey Field. The Wildcats lost to two top-10 teams this past weekend, but they have another chance Oct. 24 against No. 5 Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.
UA defender Analisa Marquez, back, fights for position with a UCLA defender during the Bruins’ 2-0 win Sunday at Murphey Field. The Wildcats lost to two top-10 teams this past weekend, but they have another chance Oct. 24 against No. 5 Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.

The Arizona soccer team knew it was a tall order to play No. 7 Southern California and No. 3 UCLA in a three-day span, and the Bruins and Women of Troy showed why.

USC (12-2-1, 2-1-1 Pacific 10 Conference) topped the Wildcats 2-0 Friday night at Murphey Field, and UCLA (12-0-2, 4-0) won by the same score on Sunday afternoon.

UA head coach Dan Tobias said he knew Arizona (8-6-0, 1-2) needed to avoid allowing an early goal in each game to have the best chance at winning. While the Wildcats didn’t let USC score until late in the first half, the Bruins’ forward tandem of Christina DiMartino and Lauren Cheney proved to be harder to contain.

“”We did a really good job, I think, with two forwards like that who know how to play with each other,”” said UA defender Analisa Marquez. “”They’re gonna get their breaks and it’s just our job to prevent any shot. They had one shot from a combination play and – give them credit – they put it away.””

Just four minutes into the game, the pair connected as DiMartino snuck a ball to Cheney – a member of the 2008 Olympic gold medal team – on the left side of Arizona’s penalty area. From 13-yards out, Cheney turned to the outside and delicately placed the ball to the lower right side past a diving Chelsea McIntyre to give the Bruins the early lead.

Late in the second half Cheney struck again, this time from 18 yards away after Kara Lang found her open on the left side of the penalty area.

UCLA’s stingy defense – which has allowed just two goals all season – was exactly that the entire game. Arizona only recorded four shots in the game and forced UCLA goalkeeper Ashley Thompson to make one save.

“”We had a good span of minutes (in the second half) where we were down their throats, and we were going at ’em, going at ’em,”” said UA forward Jasmine Namdar. “”We just kept on trying to get one in, and unfortunately it didn’t happen.””

The Women of Troy used a high-pressure defense and relentless shooting attack Friday night, led by 2008 Olympic gold medalist Amy Rodriguez, to stymie the Wildcats. USC’s Ashley Nick scored in the 39th and 81st minutes and USC out-shot Arizona 20-4 on the night.

“”What it comes down to is we made two mistakes,”” Tobias said Friday. “”They turned them into two goals and that’s why they’re a very good team.””

Arizona might not have won a game over the weekend, but the women didn’t play poorly, Tobias said. But the Cats can’t dwell on their losses with No. 5 Stanford on deck this weekend in Palo Alto.

With two games against top-ranked teams under their belt, maybe the Wildcats can build off a good performance against the Bruins and knock off the Cardinal.

“”I think we learned a lot (this weekend) about our heart and just our team as a whole,”” Marquez said. “”We never give up. We always play to the last whistle, and I think we’ll bring that to Stanford and see how they deal with it.””

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