Soccer notes: UA's Hisey takes responsibility for freshman back line
Plus: Barón splits time between Wildcats & Cafeteras; Cosgrove credits challenging schedule for postseason success
As the University of Arizona soccer team gets ready to open their PAC-12 schedule against Utah on Friday, fans are seeing good things from the freshmen on the squad.
The lone and winning goal in Sunday’s match came largely from the work of two freshmen: Sami Baytosh was credited with the score, which came from a rather astonishing kick as she fell to the ground. The pass that gave Baytosh the ball came from Ángela Barón.
Barón and another freshman Elle Hatteberg started Sunday on the back line for the Wildcats, with freshman substitute Laisa Mbiene earning some minutes at full back too. The young back line has given some new responsibilities to goalkeeper Hope Hisey.
“It’s kind of the reverse of what it was my first two years,” said Hisey, who is now a senior. “There were a lot of older players on the back line who were helping me. Now, I’ve got to pay it forward and help them and use my experience to keep them organized and instill confidence in them.”
“She had a big voice this past weekend,” said coach Becca Moros. “We switched a few people in and out, new faces and new partnerships…having one single voice coming from behind you helps you get on the same page in critical moments and after the fact, analyzing what’s going on so the next play can go better…Hope brings that and is very important to the organization and success of the back line.”
Arizona’s match against Utah is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Tucson time in Salt Lake City.
Ángela Barón got to preseason training with the Wildcats a bit late, but she had an excuse. She was playing in the under-20 World Cup for Colombia.
Barón has yet to make an appearance for the senior Cafetera squad, but was on the bench for two matches against Argentina in February.
She didn’t get to Tucson to train with Arizona until August 23. Having a player that gets international appearances is quite a get for the Wildcats. The last Colombian national team player for the Cats was Ana-Maria Montoya, who played in the 2012 Olympic games. Still, there can be some conflict with her time in school.
“Obviously, we want to support her and give her all those opportunities. We want her to grow and be the best international player she can be,” said coach Becca Moros. “After the season and other times of the year, we are definitely all about that. But she needed to come in and get settled in school and get on the team.”
The Colombian team has shared data with Moros and her staff to make sure that she isn’t overworked or injured.
Barón grew up playing for Dallas-based club D’Feeters SC in addition to training with her national squad. Her past experience prepared her for some aspects of play at Arizona but not others.
“It’s very intense, fitness wise,” she said. “(Tactically) It’s not really much of a difference…really it helps to have people who have played this style before.”
The Pima College men’s team hits the road this Saturday for a match against Mesa. The number 1 ranked Aztecs drew a match against No. 3-ranked Phoenix last Saturday and beat Glendale on Tuesday. Saturday’s match will be another against a nationally ranked opponent as Mesa is 20th in the NJCAA rankings.
NJCAA Region 1, which encompasses all of the junior colleges in Arizona, includes a total of four schools which are nationally ranked. There is also Yavapai College, which has been a national powerhouse in the past and is always a tough opponent.
Pima men’s coach Dave Cosgrove didn’t address what sort of alchemy makes Arizona so good at junior college soccer, but he thinks that having such tough opponents helps in the postseason. The conditions also mimic a postseason environment.
“The reason why we are so good is our conference,” said Cosgrove. “There’s very few days off…you get different styles…while we play in the conference, we see teams that are very well coached, very disciplined, very skillful.”
“It’s incredibly challenging and demanding,” he continued. “It prepares whoever leaves Arizona for the next stage of the playoffs.”
Pima is scheduled to host this year’s national men’s championship.