Wildcat soccer axes 'Jacks with no Jill
UA's Clifford, Hocking step up in place of injured goal scorer Aguilera
Northern Arizona University turned out to be a tougher opponent than the University of Arizona Wildcats had faced in their previous matches when the two teams had met at Mulcahy Stadium on Saturday night. Still, the result went Arizona’s way with a 3 - 0 win.
The team was without Jill Aguilera, who was kept off the field due to injury concerns.
Arizona found it hard to solve NAU’s back four in the early going, but Jada Talley slipped past through the defense just past midfield in minute 26 and forced Taryn Benham’s keeper off her line. A deceptively easy poke sent the ball into the back of the net. The goal was Talley’s third of the season.
NAU continued to battle, racking up seven fouls in the first half. Although the Lumberjacks only recorded a single shot (a 33rd minute attempt by Maddie Shafer), their few sallies upfield threatened far better than Arizona’s previous opponents.
The fight from NAU kept Arizona from extending the lead until the second half.
Hannah Clifford, who was also coming back from injury, took a shot from the top of the box in minute 61. Benham saved the shot but it was a preview for what came only three minutes later. Talley again slipped past an NAU defender. Instead of taking the shot, she passed it to the far left where Clifford was making a run. Benham made a good guess that Clifford was going to make the shot, but got there a split second too late.
A corner kick gave the Wildcats their third. Jordan Hall sent the corner straight to Iliana Hocking’s forehead and got it over a diving Benham.
Both Clifford’s and Hocking’s goals were their first for the season.
With the win, Arizona closes out their opening four matches with four wins, twelve goals for and one against.
Credit where credit is due
There is still an in-stadium announcer despite the fact that a grand total of five people who didn’t work for the UA Athletic Department were in the stands, and they were all members of the media. After the third goal, the announcer proclaimed that the goal was scored by defender Jenna Studer.
Of course, the goal was scored by Iliana Hocking. Although Hocking, a midfielder, has a lot to do with many of the goals the Cats score, perhaps the man on the microphone wasn’t used to calling out her name as the goal scorer.
After the match, she joked a bit about not getting credit, but talked about how she scored.
“I saw it coming, eyes wide open,” she said of the corner kick sent to her. “If I’m going to get one goal this season, it’s now. My time.”