The University of Arizona women's soccer team (1-6-1) returns home this weekend to play host to Long Island and Northern Arizona for the Starwoods Plaza Soccer Classic on Friday, Sept. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 1.
The Wildcats will face Long Island on Friday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m., then they will take on in-state rival Northern Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 1, Long Island and Northern Arizona will play a neutral contest at 1 p.m. All three matches will be played at the UA's Murphey Soccer Stadium, 15th Street and Plumer Avenue. Admission to all contests is free.
Decimated by illness and injury, the Wildcats are seeking to end a three-game winless streak this weekend. The Cats dropped a pair of road games in southern California last weekend to slip to 1-6-1 on the year. Arizona fell at Pepperdine last Friday, 2-3, then was edged in overtime at Loyola Marymount, 2-3, last Sunday.
Junior forward Kristi Lorona racked up a trio of goals last weekend to move into a tie with senior forward Keri Kennedy-Weber for the UA scoring lead. Each player has three goals (six points) on the season.
Sophomore forward Naomi Chu, freshman forward Meaghan McNatt and junior midfielder Twila Kaufman are all tied for second on the scoring chart with one goal and one assist (three points) apiece. Lorona and freshman forward Liz Bartlett have team-leading totals of 14 shots each.
Junior goalkeeper Shannon Monti has played in all eight matches, garnering 752 minutes played, 38 saves and a goals-against average of 2.75. Senior goalkeeper Inger Airheart has played 50 minutes off the bench, logging a GAA of 1.81.
ABOUT LONG ISLAND:
After opening their season with a four-game losing skid, the Blackbirds have won four of their last six matches to move to 4-6-0 overall and 3-1-0 in Northeast Conference play. LIU is coming off a pair of victories over Quinnipiac (3-2) and Central Connecticut (3-2 OT) at home last weekend.
With six goals and three assists (15 points), sophomore midfielder Laura Brosious leads LIU in scoring, followed closely by senior forward Larissa Swartzlander's six goals and one assist (13 points).
Sophomore goalkeeper Mary Jaeger has played every minute in the nets for the Blackbirds this season, tallying 63 saves and a 3.08 goals-against average.
First-year head coach Tracey Bartholomew (Rochester, 1994) has a 4-6-0 record at the helm of the Long Island program.
ABOUT NORTHERN ARIZONA:
Losing seven of their last nine matches, the Lumberjacks are 3-9-0 overall and 2-0-0 in Big Sky Conference action. NAU was handed losses at both Mississippi (1-5) and Alabama (1-3) last weekend.
Senior forward Raegin Eyre is NAU's top scorer, with four goals and two assists (10 points). Junior forward Holly Jones is second in scoring with four goals and one assist (nine points), followed by senior midfielder Erin Rummens with four goals (eight points).
Junior goalkeeper Erin Beckman has played in seven matches for NAU, tallying 615 minutes, 39 saves and a 2.93 GAA. Also a junior, Katie Maxwell has played six matches in the nets for NAU, collecting 450 minutes, 40 saves, one complete-game shutout and a 1.60 goals-against average.
Head coach Tracy Custer (Washington State, 1995) is 21-43-0 in four years at Northern Arizona.
Friday's meeting with Long Island will be a first for the Wildcats.
Arizona leads the series with Northern Arizona, 2-0-0. The Wildcats downed the Lumberjacks, 4-1, during the last meeting between the two teams.
Long Island and Northern Arizona have never before played one another.
LAST TIME vs. NAU:
In Flagstaff on Aug. 27, 1999, the Cats downed the Lumberjacks, 4-1, in their season opener. Arizona dented the net first just seven minutes into the game, then NAU knotted the score at 33:08. Just 37 seconds after that goal, the Cats went up 2-1, and the UA scored two more goals midway through the second half to cap the victory. Tiffany Sabado had two goals and an assist in the game.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT:
The Cats suffered a pair of heart-breaking losses in southern California last weekend.
On Sept. 22, the UA was edged, 3-2, at Pepperdine. The Waves scored just four minutes into the match, but Tiffany Sabado answered for the Wildcats off a Meaghan McNatt assist just over a minute later. Kristi Lorona scored her first goal of the season at the 15:54 mark to give the Wildcats the lead.
Pepperdine notched the equalizer three minutes into the second half, then managed a gamewinning goal with less than seven minutes remaining in the match. The Waves had the 20-10 edge in shots.
The Sept. 24 match at Loyola Marymount proved no less frustrating for the Wildcats, as they suffered their second overtime loss of the season, 3-2.
The Cats jumped out of the gate early, with Lorona finding the back of the net just 49 seconds into the match off an Erin Nelson assist. Barely two minutes later, Lorona struck again to send Arizona ahead, 2-0.
The UA held off the Lions until late in the game, when LMU notched two goals within 1:19 of each other during the waning minutes of the contest. The Lions nailed the gamewinner in the 115th minute of the contest. LMU outshot Arizona, 39-5, a new school record for opponent shots.
The contest was Arizona's fourth overtime game of the year, tying the school record for most overtime games in a season.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH CATHY KLEIN:
First-year head coach Cathy Klein (SUNY-Cortland, 1987) holds an 1-6-1 mark at the helm of the Arizona program. She has a Division I career record of 58-47-2 over six years and is 80-100-7 in 11 years as a head coach.
Klein was named as the Wildcats' new head coach last January. She came 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.
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.
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 take to the road once again next weekend, heading for Oregon to kick off Pac-10 play. Arizona plays at Oregon State on Friday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m., then the Cats take on Oregon on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 1 p.m. in Eugene.
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.
IT'S JUST A LITTLE EXTRA TIME:
The Wildcats are coming off a weekend that saw them play yet another overtime match. Arizona has played a total of four overtime games already in this year, tying the school record for the most overtime contests in one season.
NOTING THE PAC-10:
The 2000 season has been good to the Pac-10 women's soccer teams so far, although only Arizona State (9-0-0) and California (8-0-1) remain undefeated on the year. Five conference teams -- Stanford, UCLA, California, Washington and USC -- are all ranked in the adidas/NSCAA Coaches Poll this week.
As a team, Arizona is fifth in the Pac-10 in saves (39) and in fouls (113). Junior goalkeeper Shannon Monti is tied for fourth in the conference with 38 saves.
The outcome of five of the Wildcats' eight games this season has been decided by one goal or less. In the seven-year history of the Arizona soccer program, 50 matches have been decided by that one-goal-or-less differential.
IT'S A FIRST:
Several Wildcats scored their first collegiate goals recently. Senior Keri Kennedy-Weber, sophomore Naomi Chu and freshmen Liz Bartlett and Meaghan McNatt all dented the net for the first time during the last three weeks.
The Wildcats are 0-2-0 at home, 1-4-0 on the road and 0-0-1 in neutral games this season. 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.
A number of the Wildcats' 2000 opponents are ranked in this week's polls.
In the adidas/NSCAA Coaches Poll, UCLA is No. 5, California is No. 8, Washington is No. 10, Stanford is No. 13, and USC is No. 19.
The Soccer America Top 20 has UCLA at No. 5, Washington at No. 8, California at No. 9, Stanford at No. 13, USC at No. 15 and Arizona State at No. 16.
In this week's SoccerBuzz.com national rankings, UCLA is No. 5, California is No. 7, Stanford is No. 9, USC is No. 10, Arizona State is No. 13 and Washington is No. 15.
In the American Soccer Writers Poll, UCLA stands at No. 5, Washington is No. 9, Stanford is No. 10, California is No. 12, Arizona State is No. 15 and USC is No. 16. Brigham Young received votes for ranking.
TWICE IS NICE:
Traditionally, the Cats have fared rather well when scoring two or more goals in a match. The UA won the only contest so far this season in which it scored more than two goals.
Over the seven years of Wildcat soccer, the UA has a 27-16-1 record when scoring two goals or more.
14 different players have started one game or more for the Wildcats this year... Seven players have started every match so far... The UA played five nationally ranked opponents last year, more than in any other season in the program's history... The Cats could be faced with even more ranked opponents this season, if six members of the Pac-10 continue to be nationally ranked, as they are now.
The 2000 Wildcat roster features four players from Tucson-area high schools -- Niki Aguiar (Mountain View), Kristi Lorona (Canyon del Oro), Erin Nelson (Sabino) and Kate Nighswander-Will (Catalina Foothills).
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. Washington1999 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.