Nov. 1, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz. (Nov. 1) - Freshman forward Kelly Nelson scored the game-winning goal midway through the second extra period as the University of Arizona women's soccer team defeated Washington, 2-1, in overtime at home on Friday night. The win was Arizona's first victory ever over the Huskies and ended a six-game losing skid for the Wildcats, who are now 6-9-1 overall and 1-5-0 in Pac-10 play. Washington, which is ranked No. 20 in this week's Soccer America Top 25, slips to 8-6-3 overall and 3-2-1 in conference action.
The first half was a frustrating one for the Wildcats, as they had several good runs and made many forays into Husky territory but just couldn't get off solid shot attempts. Each team had only one shot on-goal through the first 35 minutes of the game. Several of the Cats' crosses were stifled early by Washington goalkeeper Hope Solo, who is a member of the U.S. National Team. The contest was scoreless at halftime, although UW had an 8-2 advantage in shots.
The Huskies didn't wait long after the break to end the shutout. Less than three minutes into the second half, Washington's Melissa Bennett sent a pass through traffic up the left side to Kim Taylor, who scored her seventh goal of the season at 47:26. The Cats countered quickly with their own attempt at 52:14, as sophomore forward Candice Wilks (Altadena, Calif./LaSalle HS) sent a serve from the right side to freshman Mallory Miller (Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic HS), whose hard shot from the top of the box was poked away by Solo.
Arizona kept pounding away at the Washington defense, including a close shot in the 61st minute by Kelly Nelson (Lakewood, Calif./Mayfair HS) that hit the near post and bounced out-of-bounds. The Wildcats' persistence paid off in the final minute of the contest, when senior defender Tymarie Novak (Orange, Calif./Rosary Catholic HS) sent a left-footed volley from the top of the box over Solo's head with just 57 seconds left in regulation. Arizona out-shot UW, 8-4, in the second period.
The first overtime period didn't result in much more than a few corner kicks, but both teams stepped up the intensity in the second overtime. Husky Tina Frimpong took a shot in the 102nd minute that was blocked by the Wildcat defense, and in the 104th minute, UA's Candice Wilks sent a shot high over the crossbar. The moment of truth came just a minute later, when Wilks sent a cross into the box for Kelly Nelson, who chipped in the game-winner at 104:49.
With her goal, Nelson has set a new UA single-season scoring record with 12 goals on the year. She breaks the old record of 11 set by Christine Keeley in 1995 and tied by Chrissy Sanford in 1999. Arizona's six wins exceeds last season's victory total of five and is the highest number of wins for the Cats since the 1999 team had seven.
"I'm so excited! This is just a surreal moment for me," said Nelson, who redshirted last year with a torn ACL. "This is such a great turnaround for our program, and it really shows we are on the way up. I'm excited about breaking the record, but I really hope there are more goals in my future."
"I'm just so excited for the players," said third-year head coach Cathy Klein. "The swings this season have just been unbelievable. We go from amazing games against UCLA and USC to nightmarish games in Oregon last weekend to this. To a young team, this is just so overwhelming. We talked all week about the fact that, despite our game scores, we are good. This is an awesome team experience, and the players deserve to revel in this. Winning this game is as foreign an experience as losing two straight in Oregon last weekend was.
"Kelly Nelson has to be one of the top forwards in the Pac-10, and she's playing this great as a freshman. Lindsey Peeples was awesome in the back - she won every head ball. Tymarie's goal was one of the finest I've ever seen in my 13 years of coaching. It was a left-footed volley against one of the best goalkeepers in this country. Hope Solo is an unbelievable keeper, but we just kept persevering."
The contest was even in all the statistical categories. Washington had a narrow 13-12 edge in total shots, but the shots on-goal were equal at seven apiece. The Cats and Huskies also had six corner kicks and three offsides each. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Natalie Juarez (Claremont, Calif. HS) tallied six saves in the nets for Arizona while allowing just one goal, and Solo ended the contest with five saves.
Arizona wraps up its home slate on Sunday, Nov. 3, against Washington State at 12 p.m. at Murphey Stadium, located at 15th Street and Plumer Avenue. The Cats will close out regular season play at California (Nov. 8) and Stanford (Nov. 10) next weekend.
1 2 OT1 OT2 F Washington 0 1 0 0 1 Arizona 0 1 0 1 2
Shots: Arizona - 12; Washington - 13
Shots on Goal: Arizona - 7; Washington - 7
Corner Kicks: Arizona - 6; Washington - 6
Fouls: Arizona - 12; Washington - 12
GK Saves: Arizona - 6 (Juarez 6); Washington - 5 (Solo 5)
Records: Arizona 6-9-1, 1-5-0; Washington 8-6-3, 3-2-1