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Arizona Soccer: 2003 Season Review
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/14/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Nov. 14, 2003

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2003 SEASON IN BRIEF: The University of Arizona women's soccer team finished the 2003 season with a 6-11-2 overall record and a 2-6-1 Pac-10 mark. The Cats set or tied 10 school records, including most corner kicks in a season (125) and fewest opponent shots (213).

The two Pac-10 wins were the most since the 2001 season, while the season conference record and the conference winning percentage (.278) were both the best in the history of the program. The Cats also won two road Pac-10 games for the first time ever.

Defensively, Arizona had its best season in six years. The Cats gave up just 33 goals on the year, barely missing the school-record low of 31 set in 1997. The Wildcats also posted a team goals-against average under 2.00 for just the second time in the program's history. The Cats earned a 1.70 GA average, the best since the 1997 squad set the school record with a 1.50 season GAA. Seven of the Cats' 11 losses in 2003 were by just one goal.

Junior forward Candice Wilks was named first team All-Pac-10, junior defender Lindsey Peeples was a second team All-Pac-10 selection, and sophomore midfielder Mallory Miller earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 laurels. Candice Wilks is the first Wildcat since Inger Airheart in 1997 to earn a first team all-conference nod, and she is just the second player in UA history to be a first-teamer. The Cats' three all-conference honors this year marks the most in any season during the 10-year history of Wildcat soccer.

INDIVIDUALLY FOR THE WILDCATS: For the second time in her career, Candice Wilks finished the season as the Wildcats' leading scorer, tallying eight goals and two assists (18 points). Sophomore Mallory Miller was second in scoring, with six goals and two assists (14 points). With two goals and three assists (seven points), freshman forward Lauren Winters finished third in scoring, followed closely by fellow freshman Erin Bevacqua with three goals (six points).

Miller led the squad with 58 shots on the season, including a team-best 25 shots on-goal. Wilks was second in both shots (34) and shots on-goal (19), followed by sophomore midfielder Lisa Kosena with 32 total shots. Winters was third in shots on-goal, with 15.

Sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Juarez started 16 games this season, registering 68 saves, two shutouts and a 1.63 goals-against average in 1433 minutes of play. Junior transfer Krystal Werges was action in six matches, tallying seven saves, one shutout and a 1.99 GA average in 317 minutes.

Juarez's 26 goals allowed is the best number in that category for any Wildcat goalkeeper since Inger Airheart allowed just 21 goals in 1999. Juarez's 1.63 goals-against average is also the lowest GAA since Airheart had a school-record 1.50 average in 1997.

CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: As a team, Arizona finished regular-season play second in the Pac-10 in corner kicks (125), fifth in shots (269), fifth in saves (77) and sixth in offsides (44).

Individually during regular-season action, junior forward Candice Wilks was fourth in goals per game (0.53 gpg), fifth in points per game (1.20 ppg) and tied for seventh in goals scored (8). Sophomore midfielder Mallory Miller was fifth in total shots (58) and sixth in shots per game (3.05 spg). Sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Juarez was fourth in both saves (68) and saves per game (4.25).

RECAPPING THE 2003 SEASON: The Wildcats began the 2003 season with a split at home while playing host to the Arizona Invitational. The Cats were edged by Iowa State (2-1) in the season opener on Aug. 29, but they rebounded for a solid 3-0 shutout of Kent State on Aug. 31.

They didn't fare as well the following weekend and were swept by Arkansas (3-2) and Missouri (3-1) at the Nike Tiger Invitational in Columbia, Mo. On the road for one more game, the Cats downed in-state foe Northern Arizona, 2-1, on Sept. 14.

A return home meant success for Arizona, as the Wildcats beat the "other" Wildcats, defeating Kentucky, 1-0, on Sept. 19. Arizona stretched its win streak to three matches just two days later with a 3-1 victory over a traditionally strong San Francisco club.

Hitting the road again, Arizona logged a 1-1 double-overtime tie at Montana on Sept. 26, stretching the Cats' unbeaten streak to a school-record-tying four games. The streak came to an end the next day, however, with a heart-breaking 2-1 loss to UNLV in a neutral contest played at Montana. The following weekend, the Wildcats lost another close one, 2-1, at San Diego on Oct. 3.

Arizona was swept by Stanford (3-2) and No. 21 California (3-0) to open Pac-10 play during the second weekend of October, but the Wildcats recovered to play rival Arizona State, ranked No. 24 at the time, to a 1-1 double-overtime tie on Oct. 18. That tie ended an eight-game losing skid to the Sun Devils.

The Cats carried some of that momentum with them to Los Angeles the next weekend. They shut out USC, ranked No. 19 in the Soccer America Top 25, 1-0 on Oct. 24, gaining their first win over the Women of Troy since the 1995 season. The competition proved much stiffer on Oct. 26, however, as No. 3 UCLA handed the Cats a 4-0 loss.

Two more close losses came during the Cats' final home series of the season. They were edged by Oregon State (2-1) on Oct. 31, then Oregon slipped by with a 1-0 win on Nov. 2.

The second weekend of November saw the Wildcats closing the year in the Pacific Northwest. Head coach Dan Tobias earned a 2-1 win over his former team, Washington State, on Nov. 7, but 13th-ranked Washington shut out the Cats, 3-0, on Nov. 9 to end the season.

WILKS NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Candice Wilks was named the Pac-10 Women's Soccer Player of the Week for Nov. 4-10, the final conference Player of the Week award for the season.

Wilks led the Wildcats to a split at the Washington schools during the last weekend of the season. At Washington State on Nov. 7, Wilks came off the bench to score both of Arizona's goals and give the Cats a 2-1 win over the Cougars. She had just two shots on-goal against WSU and scored on both of them.

Wilks scored the initial goal in the 38th minute and notched the game-winner in the 62nd minute. That game-winning goal was the fourth of her career, and it moved her into second place on Arizona's career list in that category.

The Cats' win over Washington State was their first since the 1997 season and was head coach Dan Tobias' first win over his former team. It was also Arizona's second conference road win of the year, marking the first time in the history of the program that the Wildcats garnered two Pac-10 road victories. After a loss at Washington on Nov. 9, Arizona still ended up with its best conference record ever, at 2-6-1.

This is Wilks' second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor and is the fourth all-time for Arizona. Wilks was previously Pac-10 Player of the Week during mid-October in 2001, after leading the Cats to a sweep of the Oregon schools.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: The Wildcats ended the 2003 season with a road split at the Washington schools.

Candice Wilks came off the bench to score both Wildcat goals as Arizona defeated Washington State, 2-1, in Pullman on Nov. 7. After the two teams played scoreless through the first 37 minutes of the match, Wilks took a pass from Lauren Winters on the left side and put the Cats on the board at 37:32 with her seventh goal of the season. Arizona led 1-0 at the half.

Wilks, who missed both of the previous weekend's matches with a foot injury, gave the Wildcats the lead for good in the 62nd minute. She beat two Cougar defenders to a snag pass from sophomore defender Althea Jones and scored her career-high-tying eighth goal at 61:22.

Washington State ended the shutout just 12 minutes later, when Nicole Wilcox scored off the rebound of a shot by Alix Rustrum. Despite registering just six shots in the second half, the Wildcats held the Cougars off for Arizona's second Pac-10 win of the year.

WSU out-shot Arizona, 19-14, for the game and had a 10-5 advantage in shots on-goal. Wilks and sophomore forward Kelly Nelson tallied three shots apiece to lead Arizona, while Lisa Kosena and Mallory Miller had two shots each. Goalkeeper Natalie Juarez kept the Wildcats in the game with her season-high nine saves.

In the season finale on Nov. 9, Arizona closed the year with a 3-0 loss at 13th-ranked Washington.

The Wildcats logged three shots in the first 12 minutes of the match before Washington ever got off a shot of its own. Kim Taylor put the Huskies on the board first in the 37th minute off an assist from Tina Frimpong. Three minutes later, Arizona's Candice Wilks slipped in behind the UW defense and launched a shot that forced Husky goalkeeper Lisa Brookens to make the first save of the game. Washington held a 1-0 lead at the half.

The Huskies made it 2-0 in the 50th minute, with a goal by Jaime Carstensen. Arizona had another solid scoring chance in the 64th minute, when Vanesha Bailey fired a shot that was punched out by UW's Brookens. Bailey collected the rebound, but her follow-up shot went wide. The Wildcats were able to launch just one more shot in the match, and Washington's Frimpong capped the victory with just 53 seconds left off an assist by Taylor.

UW out-shot Arizona, 14-9, for the game, but the teams were even in shots on-goal, 5-5. Bailey and Mallory Miller led the Wildcats with three shots each. Goalkeeper Natalie Juarez had two saves in-goal for the Cats.

ARIZONA HEAD COACH Dan Tobias: First-year head coach Dan Tobias (Cal Poly, 1987) is 6-11-2 with the Wildcats. He holds a career record of 50-56-8 over six years, five of which were spent at the helm of the Washington State program. Tobias was the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after guiding the Cougars to a third-place finish in the conference and their second NCAA tournament appearance in three years.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: In her first season at the UA, Lisa Oyen (Montana, 1998) followed Dan Tobias from Washington State, where she was part of Tobias' coaching staff for two years.

Assistant coach Harold Warren (Cal Poly Pomona, 2002) is also in his first year with the Wildcats. He came to the UA after spending the 2002 season on the women's soccer staff at UC Irvine.

GOING DANCING: Seven of the Cats' opponents this season earned bids to the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Stanford, Arizona State, Washington, UCLA and USC were the Pac-10 teams that received berths, while non-conference opponents Missouri and San Diego were in the tournament as well.

ARIZONA'S RECORD WHEN: This season, the Wildcats were... 5-1-1 when scoring first... 6-2-2 when tied or leading at the half... 4-2-0 when scoring two goals or more... 6-1-2 when giving up just one goal or less.

TWICE IS NICE: Traditionally, the Cats have fared rather well when scoring two or more goals in a match. They won four of the six matches this year in which they scored more than one goal. Over the 10 years of Wildcat soccer, the UA has a 42-23-2 record when scoring two goals or more.

CLOSE BUT...: The outcome of 13 of the Wildcats' 19 games this season was decided by one goal or less. In the 10-year history of the Arizona soccer program, 81 matches have been decided by that one-goal-or-less differential.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Four of Arizona's 2003 opponents were either nationally ranked or received votes for ranking in the final regular-season polls.

In the NSCAA Coaches Poll, UCLA was No. 2, and Arizona State was No. 22. The Soccer America Top 25 had UCLA at No. 2, Arizona State at No. 14, and Washington at No. 25. In the Soccer Buzz Magazine Top 25, UCLA was in the No. 2 spot, while Arizona State was No. 23. Washington received votes for ranking. According to the SoccerTimes.com Top 25, UCLA was No. 2, Washington was No. 17, and Arizona State was No. 22. USC received votes for ranking.

CURRENT CATS AMONG UA CAREER LEADERS: Junior forward Candice Wilks is tied for second on the UA career list for game-winning goals (4), is third in total points (39), third in goals scored (16), fourth in total shots (102), and is tied for fourth in assists (7).

Junior midfielder Vanesha Bailey is tied for seventh in career assists (6), tied for seventh in total points (22), tied for seventh in games started (55) and is tied for ninth in goals scored (8). Sophomore midfielder Mallory Miller is third in total shots (105), is tied for fourth in game-winning goals (3), tied for ninth in assists (5) and tied for ninth in total goals (8).

Sophomore forward Kelly Nelson is fifth in career goals scored (13) and fifth in total points (29). Sophomore midfielder Lisa Kosena is tied for seventh in assists (6), while fellow sophomore Erin Clewett is tied for ninth in assists, with five. Junior defender Lindsey Peeples is tied with Bailey for seventh in career games started, with 55.

Sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Juarez is first in fewest career goals allowed (56), second in career goals-against average (2.10), fourth in goalkeeping minutes played (2404), fourth in saves (138) and fourth in solo shutouts (2).

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have a 26-38-4 record in eight seasons playing on their home field, Murphey Stadium.

ON LOCATION: Arizona was 3-5-1 at home this year, 3-5-0 in road contests and 0-1-1 in neutral matches.

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