Tucson, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Wildcats soccer team kicks off the 2014 season by heading to Florida for two non-conference games. On Friday, the team will compete against Florida International, starting at 4 p.m. MST in Miami, Fla. Sunday’s matchup against Florida Gulf Coast is set to begin at 10 a.m. MST in Fort Myers, Fla.
Head coach Tony Amato and his assistant coaches Paul Nagy and Kylie Louw return for their second season in Tucson with the Wildcats. In 2013, the team posted a winning record of 9-7-4, including an unbeaten streak of seven games to start the season. The team went 4-6-1 in Pac-12 play and 5-1-3 versus non-conference opponents. The Wildcats capped off the season with a victory against in-state rival Arizona State, winning 2-0 at Mulcahy Stadium in the final match of the year.
The Wildcats have a strong group of leaders on the team, a collection of six seniors that all earned quality playing time for Amato in the 2013 season. Overall, the Wildcats have 20 student-athletes returning from the 2013 season, 18 of which were letterwinners. They welcome 12 newcomers, one junior college transfer and 11 freshmen. Senior forward Alexandra Doller is the top returner in terms of goals scored from the 2013 squad, she tallied seven on the season and also assisted on three goals as well. Sophomore midfielder Jaden DeGracie, a 2013 second-team All-Pac-12 honoree, assisted on eight goals during the season, the most on the team. Her flip throw-in is something the Wildcats have certainly welcomed in their attacking scheme. Juniors Sheaffer Skadsen and Alexa Montgomery played in all 20 games last year as defenders for the Wildcats. Senior goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman is back for another year between the sticks for the Wildcats, she played in all 20 games for the Wildcats and posted five shutouts in 2013, tied for fifth-best in UA history for a season.
In the Wildcats only exhibition match of the season, Arizona beat New Mexico 3-0 on Saturday, Aug. 16. Despite an hour-long delay due to lightning in the area, Arizona managed to score three goals while not allowing any. Freshman Gabi Stoian, junior Hayley Estopare and senior LeeAndra Smith all scored for the Wildcats.
Arizona also faced Florida International in 2012 and 2013, hosting FIU in 2012 but traveling to Florida in 2013. Arizona won on both occasions, the only two times the teams have faced each other in school history. In 2013, when Arizona also started the season in Florida, the Wildcats won both games. The season opener against FIU was a 4-2 win for the Wildcats. They followed up with a 1-0 victory over Florida Atlantic. The Wildcats will play Florida Gulf Coast for the first time in program history. FIU will open their season as well on Friday night. The Wildcats will be the second game of the season for FGCU. They face the University of Central Florida on Friday evening.
Season tickets are still available for the 2014 season. All season ticket holders get use of a chair back for free all season long as well as the exclusive Arizona Soccer Scarf. Click here to purchase your tickets. The first home match for the Wildcats is set for Thursday, Aug. 28 against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat soccer, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaWSoccer on Twitter.