Wildcat soccer falls to Utes in OT
UA defense put up good effort, but lose in minute 102
A noble 90-minute defensive effort was unrewarded as the University of Arizona Wildcats succumbed to a 102nd-minute goal by the Utah Utes on Friday.
Arizona had the edge in the first half, keeping Utah to a paltry four shots over those 45 minutes. The half ended with Arizona feeling they had the better of Utah, but neither team had anything to show except zeroes on the scoreboard.
Utah changed their style in the second half, bringing faster players up front. It got them a few more shots early. Despite a few corner kick induced harrowing moments, UA keeper Gabby Kaufman kept Utah off the board.
Arizona’s best chance came in minute 51, when Jazmin Ponce was fouled only a yard outside the penalty area. Utah keeper Lindsey Luke batted it away but Mykaylin Rosenquist collected it for a shot that went wide.
Both teams had a spate of chances in the last 10 minutes of regulation. First came an 80th minute corner that eventually landed at the feet of Lexe Selman. Her shot went over the crossbar. A few minutes later, Utah bore down on the Cats goal as a ball was loose in the box. Kaufman collected the ball, but Utah was back with a shot moments later. Still, there was no score.
The first overtime period saw Arizona with four shots, but none found the back of the net. It took Utah less than two minutes into the second overtime to claim the only goal of the match off of a nice break away from Taylor Slattery.
The draw puts Arizona’s record at 7-7-4. They play again on Sunday against Colorado at noon.
Defense doing its job
Despite the loss, the Wildcats kept their opponents scoreless throughout regulation, and limited Utah’s top scorer, Katie Taylor, to two shots.
“We had some focus points in practice about their game plan and what we were going to do to counteract that. We really came out strong to do that,” said defender Sheaffer Skadsen. “We didn’t have a lot of strong opportunities in the (first) half, but neither did they. So we did our job.”
“They started going a little more direct with some long balls at our goal and subbing in some faster girls,” said Skadsen of the second half. “We just adjusted: dropping in more, bringing up our goal keeper and making sure we were ready.”
The trouble was up top. Although the Cats had their chances, the offensive burden fell to Jazmin Ponce, who ended the match with 8 of Arizona’s 20 shots.
“I thought some people that joined in our attack and are dangerous pieces were not dangerous today,” said Wildcat coach Tony Amato. “We didn’t create enough opportunities. Everything was going to Jazz and she was trying to create, but we didn’t create a whole lot off of that.”
Amato didn’t call out any player by name, but Ali Doller and Kaitlyn Lopez, usually dangerous players who each had an hour on the field, ended the match with no shots. Only Ponce, Lexe Selman and Ana-Maria Montoya had more than one shot on goal.
“Those players need to play better, ultimately and I need to get them to get better,” said Amato.