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Posted Oct 1, 2012, 9:01 am
The University of Arizona women's soccer team battled the University of Southern California Trojans to a 1-1 tie in double overtime Sunday afternoon at Murphy Field at Mulcahy Stadium.
Junior forward Jazmin Ponce led Arizona with 12 shots and three on goal. The Wildcats out-shot USC 24-15. Nine Arizona players contributed to the total, including Kirstyn Magyar and Shannon Heinzler with three shot attempts while Ana-Maria Montoya, Kristin Strother, Jessica Culver, LeeAndra Smith, Julia Glanz and Emily Lai each had a shot.
In the 37th minute, USC freshman Whitney Pitalo earned her second goal of the season off a pass from teammate April Juarez. Pitalo's goal put the Trojans up 1-0 until the 88th minute, when Jessica Culver registered her first goal of the season for the Wildcats off a pass from teammate Jazmin Ponce to tie up the match and send it into overtime.
"Our game had some holes in it," head coach Lisa Oyen said. "That's something we need to continue to work on so we're not trying to fight back from a one goal deficit. USC did a good job coming in and getting that first goal but our team did a good job of fighting back and staying composed when it can be frantic."
Sophomore goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman propelled the defense with 10 saves in the match while USC goalkeeper Caroline Stanley registered 10 saves.
Up next, the Wildcats travel out of town to take on Washington on Friday at 3 p.m. in Seattle at Husky Soccer Stadium. On Sunday, Arizona heads to Pullman, Wash. to take on Washington State at 11 a.m. at Lower Soccer Field.
Cracking the defense
After a game against Arizona State on Friday where USC allowed five goals, the Women of Troy played a very tight defensive formation that prevented the Wildcats from seeing any seams in front of the goal.
"I think when we can knock it around on the floor, we can build fairly well," Oyen said after the match.
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There was a tendency for the Wildcats to go for passes in the air and long shots rather than that ground game. Not only are they better at it, Oyen noted, but USC was a taller team that dominated balls in the air.
"We need to consider the team we're playing against we have to make some better decisions on how we keep that ball in the final third."
The team has worked more players into the attack. Kirstyn Magyar, one of the team's center backs, recorded two shots.
"When we have good balance, they can step into the attack," Oyen said of defenders Magyar and Alex Smith. "It's really dangerous. Anyone coming in from that deep, defending that is tough."
The results for the weekend were a narrow loss against No. 3-ranked UCLA, including the only goal scored against that team's starting keeper so far this season, and a tie with USC. Both schools regularly rank near the top of the conference. What does that say about the progress of the team?
"The results can be looked at a bunch of different ways," Oyen said. "We could have gotten better overall performance from our team, but I think to be able to compete with these teams this year without making some of the basic mistakes we made in the past shows a lot of maturity from all of our players."
"Results are going to be results, but I think management of the games has been much better, smarter." she said.
Jessica Laurelle Hall of Arizona Athletics contributed to this report.