Hawaii final non-conference test for Arizona soccer
Arizona soccer wraps up its non-conference schedule tonight when the team takes on the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Stadium.
The Wildcats (4-1-3) are coming off an up-and-down performance at the annual Cats Classic tournament this past weekend, where they bested Southern Utah 6-1 before suffering their first loss of the season to then-No. 24 Texas Tech, 2-0.
Even though Arizona couldn’t produce a single goal against Texas Tech on Sunday, the Wildcats still lead the Pac-12 in total goals scored with 19 in only eight games played.
With the team’s hot start in 2013, head coach Tony Amato said it won’t linger on the loss and should be able to bounce back quickly.
“I think this is a resilient group,” Amato said. “This is our first loss together, but we approach every game trying to win it. And when we don’t, we are going to take what we need to get better at it.”
On Friday night, the Wildcats face Hawaii (3-2-0), which has had an average season thus far but is undefeated away from home with victories over two Pac-12 teams, Oregon and Oregon State, earlier in the season.
The Rainbow Wahine’s three-game winning streak was snapped last Sunday when Portland State beat it 2-0 in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Soccer Classic. Junior forward Tiana Fujimoto leads the team with four goals, three of which came in a 4-1 victory over Idaho State this past Friday. Fujimoto’s four goals are good for second in the Big West this season.
Arizona has had success against the Big West already in 2013, defeating UC Riverside 6-0 back in August.
Tonight’s game, which starts at 7 p.m., is the final evening game scheduled for the Wildcats at home this season, which is disappointing for senior Jazmin Ponce, who said she loves playing night games at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Stadium.
“It feels incredible,” Ponce said. “Playing under the lights is the most amazing thing; it just feels magical. Seeing all the people out there makes my heart pump every time I’m out on the field.”
After Friday’s game against Hawaii, Arizona will prepare for Pac-12 conference play, which begins on Sunday Sept. 29 when the Wildcats face UCLA, perennial power and the team currently ranked No. 4 in the country, at home.
—Follow Brian Peel @BrianPeel91