Texas Tech soccer cuts undefeated Arizona streak
Arizona soccer split its two game set over the weekend in the annual Cats Classic tournament at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Stadium, ending its undefeated start to the season.
The Wildcats (4-1-3) opened the weekend with a 6-1 victory over Southern Utah on Friday before falling to No. 24 Texas Tech 2-0 Sunday afternoon. The loss to the Red Raiders was Arizona’s first defeat of the season.
The UA trailed for almost all of Sunday’s game when the Red Raiders’ Janine Beckie scored in the third minute of what looked like an attempted cross from the wing to one of her teammates that instead got past Wildcat junior goalkeeper, Gabby Kaufman. Texas Tech sealed the deal with another goal in the 67th minute.
Arizona settled down from there and created several opportunities, most notably from freshman midfielder Lexe Selman, but nothing got past Texas Tech goalkeeper Victoria Esson. Arizona doubled Texas Tech’s shots 16-8 but was only able to put two on target.
The loss was more meaningful for Kaufman, who started her playing career at Texas Tech before transferring to Arizona.
“We fought really hard,” Kaufman said. “Texas Tech is a top 25 team that made it pretty far into the NCAA tournament last year, and we were able to keep up with them the entire game.”
On Friday night, the Wildcats used a strong first half to roll over Southern Utah 6-1. Senior midfielder Ana-Maria Montoya recorded her first goal of the season in the fifth minute, set up by senior Jazmin Ponce.
Arizona then scored three goals in a 22 minute stretch to end the half, beginning with a penalty kick by Ponce, her second in as many games.
“We had trouble scoring them our freshman year, but we’ve been practicing them for years,” Ponce said. “I guess I’m just more confident. I used to be so nervous. You have nothing really to lose.”
Arizona sophomore forward Kaitlyn Lopez made it 4-0 at half when she scored twice, with assists from fellow sophomore Hannah Wong in the 29th and 35th minutes. Arizona outshot the Thunderbirds 15-2 in the half and finished the game with a dominating 26-5 overall advantage in shots.
“We came out strong with a good tempo and energy,” head coach Tony Amato said. “The crowd was fantastic tonight, and I think that helped energize the girls early.”
The Wildcats’ offensive production slowed down slightly in the second half, but did add two more goals — one from sophomore midfielder Alexa Montgomery and another from junior forward Candace Edwards, who both recorded their first tallies of the season. Southern Utah got on the board in the 61st minute when the Thunderbirds’ Kelsea Godfrey scored off a corner kick.
The Wildcats’ defense was mostly impenetrable throughout the night, but it struggled defending Southern Utah’s set pieces, failing to clear the ball out several times, almost leading to more goals. Kaufman finished with two saves on the night and was later replaced by redshirt freshman Alison Gondosch at halftime with the game already in hand.
Arizona continues its homestand this Friday when it takes on Hawaii before starting Pac-12 play Sunday, Sept. 29 versus UCLA.
—Follow Brian Peel @BrianPeel91