PREVIEWING THE 2000 SEASON: The 2000 version of the University of 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.
If change is indeed a good thing, then the prognosis for this season is excellent.
COMING UP: The Wildcats will host a "Meet the Team" scrimmage tonight at 7 p.m. at Murphey Stadium. The team will play an intrasquad scrimmage beginning at 7 p.m. All players and staff members will be available immediately post-game for autographs. The first 250 fans in attendance will receive a free Pepsi and a hot dog, while the first 400 fans will receive a UA women's soccer autograph card.
BREAKDOWN BY POSITION: Forwards - senior Keri Kennedy-Weber and junior Kristi Lorona. Midfielders - senior Kate Nighswander-Will, juniors Tiffany Sabado, Twila Kaufman, Katie Winship and Erin Nelson, freshmen Adrienne Bell, Sierra Cristiano, Jenn Meintel and Meaghan McNatt. Defenders - seniors Ann Giallonardo and Jacy Corbus, juniors Cassidy Guinn and Niki Aguiar, sophomores Naomi Chu and Maureen Marshall, freshmen Tatiana Robertson, Liz Bartlett, Samantha Bartlett, Sarah Banks, Tara Monteleone, Lisa Mireles and Noelle Stillman. Goalkeepers - senior Inger Airheart, junior Shannon Monti, freshmen Tamara Klein and Kynan Sullivan.
THE INJURY BUG STRIKES: Several Wildcats came into fall training with injuries that will cause them to miss the beginning of this season. The Cats will be starting the year without the services of sophomore Maureen Marshall, redshirt freshman Tatiana Robertson and freshmen Jenn Meintel, Tara Monteleone, Samantha Bartlett, Kynan Sullivan and Sarah Banks. Direct questions regarding specific injuries to head coach Cathy Klein.
A LOOK AT THE 2000 SCHEDULE: Arizona's 2000 schedule features seven teams which appeared in last season's NCAA tournament. Among those squads, Pac-10 foes UCLA and Stanford advanced to the third round of the tourney before being knocked off. Four opponents (Stanford, UCLA, USC and Brigham Young) ended the year nationally ranked in the adidas/NSCAA Coaches Poll.
The Cats open the season the first weekend of September with a trip back East that will see them play at Tennessee (Sept. 1) and at Vanderbilt (Sept. 3). Arizona makes its home debut the following weekend with matches against Pittsburgh (Sept. 8) and Utah (Sept. 10).
The remainder of the non-conference schedule includes games at Evansville, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount and regional foe New Mexico. The Cats will also play host to Northern Arizona and Long Island for the Starwoods Plaza Soccer Classic, a round-robin tournament that runs Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
Arizona kicks off Pac-10 play at Oregon State (Oct. 6) and Oregon (Oct. 8), then plays its first home conference matches against Washington State (Oct. 13) and Washington (Oct. 15). The Wildcats wrap up the 2000 season at home against USC and UCLA on Nov. 3 and 5.
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.
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.
PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Here's the upcoming schedule for the UA women's soccer team...
Fri. Aug. 18 Meet the Team, 7 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 6:45-9:30 a.m. 8-10:30 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20 6:45-9:30 a.m. 8-10:30 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 2:30-4:30 p.m. Tues. Aug. 22 2:30-4:30 p.m.
All practices during the regular season (Aug. 21-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.
LOCAL CONNECTION: The 2000 Wildcat roster features five players from Tucson-area high schools -- Niki Aguiar (Mountain View), Jacy Corbus (Sunnyside), Kristi Lorona (Canyon del Oro), Erin Nelson (Sabino) and Kate Nighswander-Will (Catalina Foothills).
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: A number of the Wildcats' 2000 opponents are ranked in the three preseason polls out so far.
In the NSCAA/adidas Preseason Coaches Poll, Stanford is tied at No. 7, UCLA is No. 14, USC is tied for No. 17 and Brigham Young is No. 20.
In the American Soccer Writers Preseason Poll, Stanford is No. 7, UCLA is No. 13, USC is No. 18 and Brigham Young is No. 19. California was among several teams receiving votes for ranking.
The SoccerBuzz.com rankings have UCLA at No. 8, Stanford at No. 10, USC at No. 14, and Brigham Young at No. 16. California received votes.
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 Lorona 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.
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 Lorona 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 Lorona for eighth in career goals scored (5), and senior defender Ann Giallonardo is tied for tenth in career games started (36).
THE SKID ENDS: A convincing 4-1 victory over Oregon State on Nov. 5, 1999, was Arizona's first Pac-10 win in more than two years. The win enabled the Cats to end a 20-game winless skid in Pac-10 play. It also ended a seven-game winless skid for the season.
TIP OF THE HAT: Kristi Lorona racked up only the fourth hat trick in school history during the Wildcats' 4-1 win over Oregon State on Nov. 5, 1999. One of her goals was also the game-winner in that contest.
ON LOCATION: 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.
CLOSE BUT...: 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.
CAT SCRATCHES: 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.
GOOD START OUT OF THE GATE: With their 3-1-0 mark at the start of the 1999 season, the Wildcats tied the program's best start ever. The UA opened the 1995 season with a 3-1-0 record as well.