The University of Arizona women's soccer team will officially kick off the 2000 season this weekend with a two-game road swing in Tennessee. The Cats will play at the University of Tennessee on Friday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. EDT, then they will take on Vanderbilt in Nashville on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m. CDT.
The 2000 version of the Arizona women's soccer team will, quite literally, be a mixture of both the old and the new.
After a successful stint at Iowa State, first-year head coach Cathy Klein is just one of many new faces that will be seen on the field for the Wildcats this year. Joining a group of 14 returning letterwinners is a collection of 12 talented newcomers who should mesh well with the returnees and push for plenty of playing time.
Seven Wildcat starters return from a 1999 team that went 7-10-2 overall and finished in eighth place in the Pac-10. That squad more than doubled its win total from the previous year and set or tied 28 school records, including most goals in a season (30) and most total points (77).
Despite losing eight players who accounted for more than half of last year's point production, the Cats return a potent offensive attack, which Klein expects to be generously distributed. Junior forward Tiffany Sabado was the Wildcats' second-leading scorer last year, with six goals and three assists (15 points). Another junior forward, Kristi Loroa finished in third place with five goals and two assists (12 points).
The Lady Vols opened their season last weekend with a two-game trip to Wisconsin, where they were edged by Marquette, 2-1 in overtime, last Friday and then were blanked by Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3-0, on Sunday. The Vols stand at 0-2-0 on the season.
Senior forward Shayna Teutsch scored Tennessee's only goal of the season thus far, while freshman forward Rhian Wilkinson is leading the Lady Vols with 10 shots. Junior goalkeeper Ellen Dean has a 2.43 goals-against average over two games and has tallied 17 saves.
Angela Kelly (North Carolina, 1994) is in her first season both at Tennessee and as a head coach. She has an 0-2-0 record with the Lady Vols.
The Commodores split a pair of games over the weekend, going 1-1-0 to open the season. Vanderbilt kicked off its season last Friday by blasting Tulane, 5-0, at home, then the Commodores suffered a narrow 3-2 loss in overtime at then-19th-ranked Kentucky last Sunday. Vanderbilt will take on Furman at home this Friday before facing Arizona on Sunday.
Freshman midfielder Michelle Bruntlett leads VU in scoring with two goals and two assists (six points), followed by senior midfielder Katie Stegall with two goals (four points). Freshman goalkeeper Stacee Sproul has two saves, one shutout and a goals-against average of 1.38.
Second-year head coach Robbie Church (Pfeiffer College, 1981) has a 10-11-1 mark at the helm of the Vandy program. He is 76-41-9 in seven years as a head coach.
Arizona leads the series with Tennessee, 1-0-0. The Cats earned a 2-0 shutout of the Lady Vols during their only previous meeting on Oct. 3, 1997, in Tucson.
Sunday's contest at Vanderbilt will be a first-time meeting for the Cats.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH CATHY KLEIN:
Cathy Klein (SUNY-Cortland, 1987) was named as the Wildcats' new head coach last January. She comes to the UA after a five-year stint building a new women's soccer program at Iowa State. In four varsity seasons with the Cyclones, Klein garnered a 43-37-1 mark. Before Iowa State, Klein was head coach at Creighton and Division III schools Earlham College and Utica College. She has a Division I career record of 57-41-1 over five years and is 79-94-6 in 10 years as a head coach.
THE REST OF THE STAFF:
In her first season at the UA, Melissa Estrada (Creighton, 1995) followed Cathy Klein from Iowa State, where Estrada was part of Klein's coaching staff for four years. She assists with recruiting and works with the field players.
Assistant coach Andre Luciano (Indiana, 1993) is in his second year on the sidelines for Arizona, after stints at Utah State and Washington State. His primary responsibilities at the UA are coaching the goalkeepers and working in the recruiting efforts.
QUOTING COACH KLEIN:
"We're at the stage where we are just ready to play -- enough with the practicing. We want to see where we measure up. This group has waited eight months to see where we are. It's time to play."
All daily practices during the regular season, until Nov. 5, will be held from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Media are encouraged to attend all practices but are not permitted to converse with coaches or players during practice. Media are permitted to interview coaches or players after practice only if an interview has been pre-arranged. All practices and games are conducted at Murphey Soccer Stadium, 15th and Plumer.
The Wildcats play their first home game of the season on Friday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. against Pittsburgh. They remain at home for a match on Sunday, Sept. 10, against Utah at 12 p.m. ** PLEASE NOTE** The game time for the Utah contest is now 12 p.m., not 1 p.m. as it was originally listed.
CATS ON TV:
Arizona's game at Oregon on Sunday, Oct. 8, is slated for broadcast on Fox Sports Net on a taped-delay basis. Air date and time are TBA.
PAC-10 COACHES POLL:
UCLA was tabbed by the league's coaches as the favorite to win the Pac-10 crown this year, while the rebuilding Wildcats were picked to finish 10th.
Pac-10 Preseason Women's Soccer Coaches Poll 1. UCLA 7. Oregon 2. Stanford 8. Oregon State 3. USC 9. Washington St. 4. California 10. ARIZONA t5. Arizona State t5. Washington
Last year, Arizona garnered a 4-4-2 mark at home, was 1-6-0 on the road and was 2-0-0 in neutral matches.
The 2000 Wildcat roster features five players from Tucson-area high schools -- Niki Aguiar (Mountain View), Jacy Corbus (Sunnyside), Kristi Loroa (Canyon del Oro), Erin Nelson (Sabino) and Kate Nighswander-Will (Catalina Foothills).
A number of the Wildcats' 2000 opponents were ranked preseason polls.
In the NSCAA/adidas Preseason Coaches Poll, Stanford was tied at No. 7, UCLA was No. 14, USC was tied for No. 17 and Brigham Young was No. 20.
Soccer America's Preseason Top 20 had Stanford at No. 7, UCLA at No. 11, USC at No. 17 and Brigham Young at No. 19.
In the American Soccer Writers Preseason Poll, Stanford was No. 7, UCLA was No. 13, USC was No. 18 and Brigham Young was No. 19. California was among several teams receiving votes for ranking.
In this week's SoccerBuzz.com national rankings, Stanford is No. 8, UCLA is No. 10, USC is No. 12, Brigham Young is No. 14 and California is No. 24. In the SoccerBuzz regional rankings, Vanderbilt stands at No. 8 in the Central Region, and Evansville is No. 8 in the Great Lakes Region. In the West Region, Stanford is No. 2, UCLA is No. 3, USC is No. 4, BYU is No. 5, California is No. 6, Arizona State is No. 7, Loyola Marymount is tied for No. 10, and Washington was among teams receiving votes.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK:
Senior goalkeeper Inger Airheart is currently Arizona's career leader in minutes played (4338) and shutouts (9). She is second in career saves (259), fourth in games started (47) and tied for eighth in games played (49).
Junior goalkeeper Shannon Monti is third in career minutes played (912), third in saves (58) and third in shutouts (2). Junior forward Kristi Loroa is fourth on the UA career list in game-winning goals (2), tied for eighth in goals scored (5) and tied for ninth in total points (12).
Senior midfielder Kate Nighswander-Will is fifth in career games started (44) and tied for eighth in games played (49). Junior midfielder Tiffany Sabado is seventh in career goals scored (6), tied for seventh in total points (15) and tied for ninth in assists (3). Junior midfielder Twila Kaufman is tied with Loroa for eighth in career goals scored (5), and senior defender Ann Giallonardo is tied for tenth in career games started (36).
1999 IN BRIEF:
The University of Arizona women's soccer team wrapped up the 1999 season with 7-10-2 overall and 1-7-1 Pac-10 marks. The team set or tied 28 school records, including most goals in a season (30) and fewest losses (10). The Wildcats more than doubled their number of wins from the year before (three) and finished eighth in the league standings, up two spots from 1998.
INDIVIDUALLY IN 1999:
The now-departed Chrissy Sanford was among the Pac-10's top five scorers all last season and tied the Arizona school records for single-season goals scored (11) and total points (27).
Forward Tiffany Sabado was the Wildcats' second-leading scorer, with six goals and three assists (15 points). Forward Kristi Loroa finished in third place with five goals and two assists (12 points).
Goalkeeper Inger Airheart amassed 64 saves, a goals-against average of 2.04 and a pair of shutouts, while playing in 12 contests. Keeper Shannon Monti collected 52 saves, two shutouts and a 2.94 GAA in 12 games in the nets.
The outcome of seven of the Wildcats' 19 games last year was decided by one goal or less. In the six-year history of the Arizona soccer program, 45 matches have been decided by that one-goal-or-less differential.
TWICE IS NICE:
Traditionally, the Cats have fared rather well when scoring two or more goals in a match. The UA won six of the nine contests last season in which it scored two or more goals.
Over the six years of Wildcat soccer, the UA has a 26-16-1 record when scoring two goals or more.
The UA played five nationally ranked opponents last year, more than in any other season in the program's history... 18 different players started one game or more for the Wildcats last season.