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13th-Ranked Wildcats Set for First-Ever NCAA Tournament Appearance
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/11/2004
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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WHAT’S HAPPENING: The 13th-ranked University of Arizona women’s soccer team (15-5-0 overall, 6-3-0 Pac-10) will travel to Storrs, Conn., for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats’ first-round opponent is Colgate University (12-6-2) at 7 P.M. on Friday, Nov. 12. The University of Connecticut (16-6-1) and Harvard (8-6-2) will face off in the other first-round match. The winners of the two first-round matches will compete for a trip to the quarterfinals on Sunday, Nov. 14.

LAST TIME OUT: The Wildcats hit the road for the two final matches of the regular season. The Cats first travelled to Corvalis, Ore. to take on the Oregon State Beavers, where they lost, 1-0. Arizona then rebounded in Euguene, Ore. over Oregon with a 2-0 victory. The one win over the weekend was good enough to give the Wildcats a share of the Pac-10 Championship with UCLA. Because the Wildcats beat teh Bruins in head-to-head competition, Arizona earned the Pac-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

In Friday’s match against the Beavers, neither team was able to register a goal in the first half, as Arizona goalkeeper freshman McCall Smith and Oregon State goalkeeper sophomore Melissa Onstad registered two saves each. The game remained scoreless until the 82nd minute when Oregon State freshman Monica Storm placed a pass from senior Janelle Joy into the back of the net. The Wildcats were unable to answer, giving the Beavers the 1-0 victory. Senior Candice Wilks led the Wildcat offense with four shots in the game, while junior Mallory Miller had two.

In Sunday’s action against Oregon, Wilks opened the scoring for the Wildcats at the 10:50 mark by registering an unassisted goal from six yards out. Freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith had two saves in the first half to give Arizona the 1-0 advantage at halftime. Senior Vanesha Bailey gave the Wildcats a 2-0 edge less than three minutes into the second half with an unassisted goal from 19 yards out. The Wildcats finished the night with 15 shots over Oregon’s five. Smith had three saves for her 11th shutout of the season.

ABOUT COLGATE: The Colgate Raiders (13-6-1) are a member of the Patriot League and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the conference tournament last weekend. During the regular season, the Raiders posted a 13-6-1 record. This will be Colgate’s fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Raiders did not participate in the tournament in 2003.

The Raiders 13 wins have come over Fairfield, LaSalle, Albany, Bucknell, Navy, Vermont, Cornell, American, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Princeton, Army and Lehigh. Colgate’s six losses have come to Syracuse, California, Saint Mary’s, Iona, Yale and Lehigh. The tie was registered against Army. The only common opponent between the Wildcats and the Raiders is the California Golden Bears. Arizona lost to California 1-0 on Oct. 17. Colgate also lost to California 3-0 on Sept. 10.

Offensively, the Raiders are led by freshman Franny Iacuzzi with 35 points registered off of 15 goals and five assists. Junior Kelly Kuss is the assists leader with 13. The Colgate goalkeeper is junior Luisa Miller. Miller has competed in 16 games, registering seven starts. She has a 0.79 goals against average with five shutouts.

The Raiders are coached by Kathy Brawn, who is in her 12th season as the head coach. Brawn is assisted by Kely Tynell and Chris McLain.

HARVARD vs. UCONN: The other first-round match features the Harvard Crimson (8-6-2) against the host Connecticut Huskies (16-6-1).

Harvard’s offensive leader is freshman Megan Merritt with 12 points off of five goals and two assists. The Crimson’s goalkeeper is junior Katie Shields. Shields boasts a 6-1 record with a 0.63 goals against average. The Crimson are coached by Tim Wheaton, who has posted a 167-93-27 record in 19 seasons.

Connecticut is led by Kristin Graczyk who has posted 33 points off of 12 goals and nine assists. The Huskies’ goalkeeper is Megan Jessee. Jessee has posted a goals against average of 0.64.She has 15 wins and 11 shutouts. Connecticut is coached by Len Tsantiris, who is in his 23rd season with the program and has posted a 399-103-24 record.

Last season, the Connecticut Huskies made it to the title game of the 2003 College Cup, where they lost to North Carolina, 6-0.

FIRST TIMERS: This will be the Wildcats’ first-ever appearance in an NCAA Tournament.

NEW OPPONENTS: In the 10-year history of the program, the Wildcats have never competed against Colgate, Harvard or Connecticut.

SECOND-ROUND ACTION: The winners of the two Friday matches will compete in the second-round match in Storrs, Conn. on Sunday, Nov. 14.

WILDCAT OPPONENTS: Seven of the Wildcats’ regular-season opponents also received bids to the NCAA Tournament (California, West Virginia, Pepperdine, Stanford, Weber State, UCLA, and Washington). The Wildcats lost to California, West Virginia and Pepperdine. Arizona defeated Stanford, Weber State, UCLA and Washington. The Wildcats earned the highest seed among its opponents. UCLA earned a No. 14 seed, while Washington will enter the tournament as the No. 15 seed.

IN THE PAC: The Wildcats will be joined by four other Pac-10 teams in the tournament. Stanford, California, UCLA and Washington will compete, with Stanford and California on the same side of the bracket as Arizona.

IN THE RANKINGS: Arizona has once again earned rankings in all four national polls and two regional polls. Arizona is ranked No. 13 in the Soccer America Top 25, No. 17 in the NSCAA Top 25, No. 15 in the Soccer Buzz Top 30 and No. 19 in the Soccertimes.com Top 25. Arizona is No. 5 in both the SoccerBuzz.com and in the NSCAA coaches poll regional rankings. Arizona is a part of the Western Region, which contains 47 teams.

This year marks the first time in the history of the program that the Wildcats have been ranked in any national poll. Arizona’s highest rankings came last week when the Wildcats were ranked No. 10 in the Soccer America Top 25, No. 15 in the NSCAA Top 25, No. 16 in the Soccer Buzz Top-30 and No. 19 in the Soccertimes.com Top 25. Arizona also earned its highest regional rankings at No. 4 in both the SoccerBuzz.com and the NSCAA coaches poll regional rankings.

PAC-10 CHAMPS: For the first time in the history of the program, the Wildcats claimed the Pac-10 title with a 6-3 conference record. With an identical 6-3 conference record, the UCLA Bruins share the title with the Cats. Arizona more than exceeded expectations as they were picked to finish seventh in the pre season coaches’ poll.

1.   Arizona (6-3-0 Pac-10, 15-5-0 overall)
      UCLA (6-3-0, 13-6-0)
3.   Washington (5-3-1, 14-4-1)
4.   Stanford (4-3-2, 12-5-3)
      ASU (4-3-2, 8-9-2)
      California (4-3-2, 11-5-3)
7.   Oregon State (4-4-1, 10-9-1)
8.   Washington St. (3-4-2, 8-7-4)
9.   USC (3-6-0, 9-9-1)
10. Oregon (0-7-2, 3-13-3)

Arizona earned the title by defeating three Top 10 opponents, including No. 4 Washington, No. 10 Stanford and No. 5 UCLA. Previous to this season, the Wildcats had never defeated Stanford or UCLA, and had only posted one win over Washington.

Previously, the best finish in the Pac-10 for the Wildcats was in a tie for seventh in 1997 with a 2-7-0 conference record. The best conference record came last season as the Wildcats finished in a tie for ninth with a 2-6-1 conference record.

STATISTICALLY IN THE PAC: Arizona finished the regular season among the leaders in several categories in the Pac-10. The Wildcats were second in the conference in assists (34) and points registered (108), goals (37), fewest goals allowed (10) and most shutouts (11).

Individually in the Pac-10, junior Mallory Miller finished the regular season tied for eighth in points (19), while leading the conference in assists (9). Senior Candice Wilks finished tied for tenth in goals scored (7), points (18), and fourth in game-winning goals (4). Freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith finished the regular season at the top of the Pac-10 in nearly every goaltender statistic. She leads the conference in saves (89), shutouts (11) and save percentage (.899). She finished second in goals against average (0.50) behind Stanford’s Nicole Barnhart (0.44).

SEASON RECAP: The Wildcats defeated No. 4 Washington, Washington State, No. 10 Stanford, USC, No. 5 UCLA and Oregon. The three conference losses for Arizona came on the road against No. 11 California, Arizona State and Oregon State. Prior to Pac-10 competition, the Wildcats had nine non-conference wins over Iowa State, Drake, UC-Irvine, Fairleigh Dickinson, Duquesne, Northern Arizona, Brigham Young, Weber State and Colorado College. The two losses of the non-conference schedule came against ranked opponents - No. 16 West Virginia and No. 25 Pepperdine. Eleven of the 15 Wildcat victories have been shutouts.

HEAD COACH DAN TOBIAS: Dan Tobias is in his second season as the head coach of the Arizona women’s soccer team. As the third head coach in Arizona’s 10-year history, Tobias has a record of 20-16-1. Not only has he and coached the Wildcats to the program’s first ever Pac-10 Championship this season, but he has led teh team to the best overall record in the history of the program. He was named the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year as the head coach at Washington State and is an obvious choice the award in 2004.

IN THE NETS: Freshman McCall Smith has been strong in the nets for the Wildcats. She went the first 379:49 minutes of the season without allowing a goal scored. The nearly 380 consecutives minutes without a goal allowed is the longest time without a goal allowed in the history of the program. Smith is also the first Wildcat goalkeeper to log four consecutive shutouts.Jenn Wiebel, who had gone 237:41 minutes without allowing a goal in 1996, had previously held that record. With 11 shutouts, Smith is also the new Arizona career shutout leader.

AMONG THE ELITE: On Sept. 8, freshman defender Kaity Heath was named to Soccer Buzz Magazine’s National Elite Team of the Week for her play during the week of August 30. In that week, Heath scored the lone goal in UA’s win over UC-Irvine, and had an assist in the victory over Fairleigh Dickinson. She was also named Defensive Most Valuable Player for the Arizona Invitational.

On Oct. 12, junior Mallory Miller was named to Soccer Buzz Magazine’s National Elite Team of the Week for her play during the week of Oct. 4. In that week, Miller led the Wildcats to victories over Washington State and No. 4 Washington, posting two goals and an assist.

Freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith was the third Wildcat to be named to Soccer Buzz Magazine’s National Elite Team of the Week for her play during the week of Oct. 24. Smith led the Wildcats to two shutout victories over USC and No. 5 UCLA.

 

PAC-10 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Junior midfielder Mallory Miller and freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith were the two Wildcats to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors during the 2004 season.

Miller was the first Wildcat to be named Pac-10 Women’s Soccer Player of the Week. Miller earned the honor for her playing during Oct. 5-11. Miller, a Tucson native, helped the Wildcats to a 2-0-0 start in Pac-10 play with wins over Washington State and No. 4 Washington. She was part of the Arizona midfield that limited the Cougars to eight shots in the game. She also assisted in the third Wildcat goal that sealed the victory and helped the Wildcats open the Pac-10 season at 1-0. With her eighth assist of the season, Miller broke the school record for most assists in a single season and leads the Pac-10 in that category. In Sunday’s match versus Washington, she scored a goal at the 45:53 mark to tie the game 1-1. She then headed the game-winning goal into the back of the net at 72:10. With 18 points on the season, Miller is tied for fourth in points in the Pac-10. The honor was Miller’s first Pac-10 Player of the Week honor and Arizona’s fifth weekly honor all-time.

Smith was the second Wildcat to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for her play from Oct. 26-Nov. 1. Smith, from Salt Lake City, Utah, led the Wildcat defense to a pair of shutout wins over USC and then-No. 5 UCLA. Against USC on Oct. 29, Smith had key saves early in the first half to keep the game scoreless until the Wildcats opened the scoring in the 34th minute. Smith had six saves on the night to lead Arizona to a 3-0 victory and her ninth shutout of the season. Against UCLA on Oct. 31, Smith posted four saves against a Bruin team that leads the Pac-10 in goals scored. The 1-0 shutout marked Arizona’s first-ever win over the Bruins in the 10-game series history. The honor was Smith’s first Pac-10 Player of the Week honor and Arizona’s sixth weekly honor all-time.

TOUGH DEFENSE: The Wildcats have limited their opponents to 10 goals in 20 matches, while posting 11 shutouts. The only match in which the Wildcats allowed more than one goal came on Sept. 10 against No. 16 West Virginia, when the Mountaineers defeated the Wildcats, 2-0. Four of the Wildcats’ goals against have come in the first half, with the other six being scored in the second half.

 

OFFENSIVELY: Arizona has scored 37 goals this season. Seven of those came on Sept. 5 when the Wildcats defeated the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights 7-0 at home. The Wildcats have scored 15 times in the first half, 21 in the second half and once in overtime. The Wildcats have yet to lose when scoring in a match.

WINNING STREAKS: The Wildcats have had three four-game winning streaks. Arizona opened the season with four victories over Iowa State, Drake, UC Irvine and Fairleigh Dickinson. The second winning streak started on Sept. 12 against Duquesne University. The Wildcats then went on to beat Northern Arizona, Brigham Young and Weber State. The most recent winning streak started on Oct. 3 against Colorado College, followed by Washington State, Washington and Stanford.

ON THE ROAD: The Wildcats are 7-4-0 on the road this season with a 2-3-0 road record in the Pac-10.

CROWD SUPPORT: In nine home games this season, the Wildcats had an average attendance of 582. The highest attendance at a home game came on Sept. 3 against UC-Irvine, when there was a crowd of 811. The Wildcats went 8-1 at home during the regular season with only three goals allowed.

LEADING THE POINTS: Tucson native junior Mallory Miller continues to lead the Wildcats in points with 19. Miller has been a part of 14 goals for the Wildcats with five scored and nine assists. Senior Candice Wilks leads the Cats in goals with seven. Four of Wilks’ scores have been game-winning goals.

IN THE RECORD BOOKS: With 23 goals in her career, senior Candice Wilks is two away from Nikki Jones’ record of 25. Junior Mallory Miller is now tied with Jones as the all-time leader in assists with 14. Senior Lindsey Peeples is now tied for the record for most games started with 72.

BREAKING RECORDS: With its ninth victory of the season coming against Colorado College on Oct. 3, Arizona broke the single-season win record for the program. The 1997 squad had previously achieved the best win toal with a final record of 8-11-1.

SINGLE SEASON RECORD: Junior Mallory Miller broke the school record for most assists in a season. She now has eight assists on the season. The previous record was held by Nikki Jones who had six assists in 1998.

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