Arizona Wildcats soccer
Wildcats drop narrow one to Oregon State
Lack of consistency and finishing once again hurting squad
Fans may be forgiven for hoping that Arizona's match with Oregon State on Sunday would go much the same way as the game against Oregon on Friday. Both schools are from the same state, and the match opened up much the same way: a first minute run from forward Jazmin Ponce ending in a shot flying off of the crossbar.
It wasn't to be: The game ended with no score for Arizona and Oregon State walking off the field with a 1-0 victory.
The game started well, with Ponce's early shot, but Oregon State slowly started getting more possession and shots. Oregon State's Erin Uchacz, who at times seemed larger than her listed 5'10", broke up several Arizona runs at the midfield and Jenna Richardson got four shots a goal.
Despite Oregon State starting to come back toward the end of the first half, Oregon State coach Linus Rhode pulled out several players at the half, including Richardson and Uchacz. His change-ups paid off. Midfielder Ashley Seal took a pass from Haley Shaw in the 55th minute and slipped it past Arizona's Ashley Jett.
Arizona still had time to even things up. Coach Lisa Oyen made several offensive substitutions to try to change things up. To some extent, it worked: Arizona's energy level changed and more shots were made. They even earned their only corner kick. Still, they were still unable to finish and ended the match scoreless.
Goalkeeper Jett summed up her team's performance with one word, "inconsistent."
"First half, just like Friday night, we came out hard and had chances early in the game," she said after the match. "We had fire, but once again we went into a lull with twenty minutes left in the first half."
Coach Oyen admits to being "disappointed" in the team's performance and points to the same pattern that Jett did.
"We lost our rhythm and let Oregon State back in the game. It took us a while to regain our rhythm and possession and we got some chances late," she said after the game.
Despite all of that, Arizona had looks at goal: forwards Ponce, Ana-Maria Montoya and Julia Glanz all recorded two shots on the afternoon.
Both Jett and Oyen are still seeing improvements from the team on a weekend that included the first win of the season. Palo Verde graduate and midfielder LeeAndra Smith, who came in as a substitute in the second half to cheers from the crowd, thought the team played well to, but sees one thing missing.
"We need to step it up," she said.
Delivery to the breadbasket
Official game statistics recorded only two saves a piece for Jett and Oregon State's Colleen Boyd, which doesn't take into account how often the two of them were called on to get into the play.
The numbers may have missed one unusual play from Jett: a save off of her stomach.
Late in the match, Jett batted the ball away but it still was bouncing around in the area. An Oregon State player quickly took advantage. Jett didn't have time to catch or punch the ball, but had time to move into the way.
So, how often does this happen?
"A couple of times, way too many."
Jett wasn't the only Wildcat to save a goal. Defender Kristin Strother cleared the ball off the line in minute 74 when Jett was still down from a save.
Who is this Cal Berkeley?
The Wildcats face the California Golden Bears (9-3-2, 2-1-2) on Friday at 7 p.m.. Cal is coming off a 2-0 victory over USC.