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Posted Aug 16, 2012, 11:27 am
For the University of Arizona soccer team, it's time to move on.
In the 2011 season, the Wildcats managed only one win and scored only eight goals.
"It's not about what happened in the past, it's how we respond," said head coach Lisa Oyen after an afternoon practice this week. "It's done ... what happened in the past doesn't effect us anymore."
The team just returned from their camp in Pinetop, which is a good place for a fresh start and a fantastic idea for anyone dealing with August in Tucson.
"It's a whole different team," said junior midfielder Ana-Maria Montoya. "I feel the mentality and the dynamic. Everybody is a lot more positive."
"They want to win. They want to be on top," she added.
Finishing was a big problem last season. Senior forward Kristin Strother will be back, but the team has been looking to other offensive options. Among the additions is forward Kaitlyn Lopez, who lettered all four years at Ironwood Ridge High School. Another addition to the offense will be Hannah Wong, who had two appearances for the New Zealand national team in the last FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
The Wildcats have the first day of their fresh start on Friday when they travel to California to play Long Beach State. Their first home game will be on Aug. 23 against Brigham Young University.
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She's a keeper...
Some coaches tell you that it starts at the back.
One good point for last year's team was goalkeeper Ashley Jett, who often kept the team in games despite the run of play.
Jett graduated, so it was time to look elsewhere. Where else? Canada and Texas.
Gabby Kaufman is a transfer from Texas Tech where she played under the well regarded coach Tom Stone.
"It's been an easy transition," Kaufman "They welcomed me with open arms."
Alison Gondosch made the trip to Tucson from a bit further afield: Kitchener, Ontario. Showing up in Baja Arizona in August from The Great White North could be quite jarring, but Gondosch has liked it so far.
"It's been awesome. It's a transition, of course, new country," she said. "No language barrier," she joked.
Aside from making saves, a responsibility of a goalkeeper is to make suggestions to the defense, direct them, occasionally berate them. It takes building a rapport with them.
"It's been an adjustment. You are so used to your back four at home and who you've played with forever," she said. "We've been together for a little over a month. We are starting to get the relationships and how everyone plays."
"I think I found my voice on this team pretty quickly," said Kaufman. "They need a strong leader in the back and I think I can provide that for them."