WHAT’S HAPPENING:The University of Arizona women’s soccer team (9-2-0 overall, 0-0-0 Pac-10) opens Pacific-10 Conference play at home this weekend. The Wildcats first compete against Washington State (5-3-2 overall, 0-0-0 Pac-10) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8 followed by a match against No. 4 Washington (9-1-0 overall, 0-0-0 Pac-10) at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 10.
LAST TIME OUT: The Wildcats competed in their final non-conference matches last weekend. On Friday night, the Cats suffered their second loss of the season against No. 25 Pepperdine, 1-0. Arizona returned to the field on Sunday and defeated Colorado College, 1-0.
In Friday’s match against the Waves, both Arizona and Pepperdine had opportunities in the first half but neither team was able to register a goal. The Wildcat offense had seven shots in the first half, while the Wave offense had five. Arizona’s freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith and Pepperdine’s junior goalkeeper Anna Picarelli each had three saves going into the second half. Pepperdine’s Jenna Fodor broke the scoreless tie at 51:40 with a goal off of an assist from Jenna Ainsworth. Fodor placed a ball from 18 yards out in the center of the field to give the Waves the 1-0 win. Smith had six saves in the second half to keep the game close, but the Wildcats were unable to score. Junior Mallory Miller had the most opportunities for the Cats with three shots, including one on goal.
The Wildcats once again played through a scoreless first half on Sunday afternoon. The best opportunity for Arizona in the first half came off of a corner kick by freshman Kaity Heath. Senior Lindsey Peeples placed a header towards the goal off of Heath’s kick, but the ball went wide. The Wildcats stayed strong defensively in the first half and only allowed one shot. Offensively in the first half, Arizona had nine shots with three on goal. Late in the second half, junior Jennifer Klein broke the scoreless tie with a goal off of a deflection from a defender. Klein placed her shot in the lower left corner to give the Wildcats the 1-0 win. The Wildcats continued to play well defensively to limit the Tigers to two shots in the second half.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE: Washington State returns four starters from the 2003 squad that went 6-11-2 overall, 2-5-2 Pac-10.
Entering conference play, the Cougars have a 5-3-2 record. The five wins for the Cougars came against Denver, New Mexico, Northern Colorado, No. 12 Pepperdine and Brigham Young. Washington State has lost to Montana, Utah and No. 6 Portland. The two ties came against No. 8 Tennessee and Loyola Marymount. The Cougars have outscored their opponents 13-12.
The Cougars’ points leader is junior Alix Rustrum with four goals, two of which have been game-winners. Junior Haley Miller and senior Cailan McCutchan are also offensive threats with seven points each. The Cougars’ goalkeeper is junior Katie Hultin. Hultin has played in nine games and has registered four wins. She has a goals against average of 0.90 and has made 40 saves on the season while earning four shutouts.
Washington State is coached by Matt Potter. In one season with the Cougars, he has posted a 6-11-2 record. He is assisted by Kirk Nelson and Lindsey Jorgensen.
WILDCATS VERSUS COUGARS: Washington State leads the series with a 6-2-1 advantage over the Wildcats. The last meeting between the two teams was on Nov. 7, 2003, and resulted in a 2-1 Wildcat victory.
ABOUT WASHINGTON: No. 4 Washington returns five starters from the 2003 squad that earned a 11-7-3 overall record. The Huskies finished fifth in the Pac-10 with a 4-4-1 record.
Washington began the season with an eight-game winning streak before suffering its first loss last weekend to San Diego. Previous to the loss, the Huskies had defeated No. 9 Penn State, No. 18 Ohio State, No. 8 Tennessee, UAB, Weber State, Loyola College, Portland State and No. 6 Portland. The Huskies also defeated San Diego State over the weekend to give them a 9-1 overall record.
Washington’s offensive leader is senior midfielder Nikki Gamble with 12 points coming off of four goals and four assists. Senior forward Tina Frimpong has also contributed to the Husky offense with 11 points. She has the most goals for the squad with five. The Huskies’ goalkeeper is sophomore Kelsey Rasmussen. Rasmussen has played every minute and has only allowed six goals on the season with a goals against average of 0.59.
The Huskies are coached by Leslie Gallimore, who is in her 11th season at Washington. She has earned a 113-74-13 school record. She is assisted by Amy Griffin and Tami Bennett.
WILDCATS VERSUS HUSKIES: Washington has dominated the series with a 8-1-0 record over the Wildcats. In the two teams’ last meeting, the Huskies defeated the Wildcats on Nov. 9, 2003, by a score of 3-0. Arizona’s only win against the Huskies came on Nov. 1, 2002, as the Wildcats earned a 2-1 overtime victory.
IN THE RANKINGS: For the second week in a row Arizona is ranked in this week’s SoccerBuzz.com regional rankings. Arizona moved up one spot from last week to No. 14. The poll ranks the top 15 teams in each region. Arizona is a part of the western region, which contains 47 teams.
BREAKING RECORDS: With its ninth victory of the season coming against Colorado College on Sunday, 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.
The Wildcats’ nine victories have come over Iowa State, Drake, UC-Irvine, Fairleigh Dickinson, Duquesne, Northern Arizona, Brigham Young, Weber State,and Colorado College. The two losses of the season have come against ranked opponents. The first loss came on Sept. 10 against No. 16 West Virginia. Arizona’s second loss came over the weekend to No. 25 Pepperdine. Seven of the nine Wildcat victories have been shutouts.
Previous to this season, Arizona’s best ten game start to a season was 6-3-1 in 1997.
CONNECTIONS: Head Coach Dan Tobias will compete against his former team in Washington State on Friday. Tobias served as the Cougar head coach for five years before accepting the head coach position at Arizona. At Washington State, Tobias earned a 44-45-6 record and was named the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
LOOKING AHEAD:Arizona will conclude its four-game homestand this weekend. The Wildcats will participate in their first Pac-10 road match against No. 16 Stanford at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. followed by No. 11 California a 2:30 p.m. match on Sunday, Oct. 17.
TOUGH COMPETITION: Six of Arizona’s opponents are ranked in this week’s NSCAA National Rankings. Arizona lost 2-0 to West Virginia, which is now ranked No. 20, on Sept. 10. The Wildcats lost last Friday to No. 25 Pepperdine. The other four ranked opponents are part of the Pac-10 conference. They include No. 4 Washington, No. 8 UCLA, No. 11 California and No. 16 Stanford.
IN THE PAC: Arizona is among the leaders in the Pac-10 in quite a few offensive and defensive categories. The Wildcats lead the conference in shots taken with 182. Arizona is in second place behind California in points, goals, and assists. The Wildcats are also in second place behind Stanford for fewest goals allowed, lowest goals against average and most shutouts. Arizona is also second to Oregon in saves with 51. Arizona has the third best overall record in the conference. Washington leads the Pac-10 with a 9-1 record, followed by California, which is 7-1-1.
Individually, junior Mallory Miller is fifth in shots taken, tied for fifth in points and she leads the conference in assists with seven. Senior Kamaya Damwijk and junior Nikki David are tied for eighth for the most goals with four a piece. Freshmen Kaity Heath and Nicole Scheid are tied for eighth on the assists list with three each. Freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith is third in goals against average at 0.45 and is second in saves with 50. She leads the conference in shutouts with seven.
PAC-10 FINISHES: Arizona earned the best Pac-10 finish in the program’s history last season with a 2-6-1 record. The Wildcats became a part of Pac-10 Conference play in 1997.
IN THE NETS: Freshman McCall Smith continues to impress as the starting goalkeeper. With seven shutouts, she has already set a new single season shutout record. Inger Airheart had previously held the record with six in 20 games played in the 1997 season. Smith has only allowed five goals in nine games while logging 990 minutes with 50 saves. She went the first 379:49 minutes of the season without allowing a goal. Smith is the first Wildcat goalkeeper to log four consecutive shutouts and the nearly 380 consecutive minutes without a goal allowed is the longest span in the history of the program. Jenn Wiebel, who had gone 237:41 minutes without allowing a goal in 1996, had previously held that record.
LEADING THE POINTS: Tucson native junior Mallory Miller continues to lead the Wildcats in points with 13. Miller has been a part of 10 goals for the Wildcats with three goals scored and seven assists. She also had the game-winning goal in Arizona’s win over Drake on Aug. 28. Senior Kamaya Damwijk and junior Nikki David lead the Cats in goals with four. Senior Candice Wilks has also been a major contributor to the Wildcat offense with three goals. Two of Wilks’ scores have been game-winning goals.
CROWD SUPPORT: In five home games this season, the Wildcats have had an average attendance of 644. The highest attendance at a home game came on Sept. 3 against UC-Irvine when there was a crowd of 811. The Wildcats are 4-1 at home this season with only one goal allowed.
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 15-13-1 at UA and coached the Wildcats to the best Pac-10 finish in the program’s history in 2003. He was named the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year as the head coach at Washington State.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS: With 19 goals in her career, senior Candice Wilks is six away from Nikki Jones’ record of 25 career goals. Junior Mallory Miller is two assists away from being the all-time leader. Jones is the current leader with 14.