Wildcats soccer bounces back from first loss with 4-1 victory over Hawaii
In its final non-conference game of the season, Arizona soccer bounced back from its first defeat in 2013 with a convincing 4-1 victory over the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine on Friday night at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Stadium.
After falling to then No. 24 Texas Tech last Sunday, the Wildcats (5-1-3) were in little danger of dropping their second consecutive game as they raced out to a 3-1 halftime lead against the Rainbow Wahine, with all three goals by way of set pieces. Sophomore defender Hayley Estopare scored her first goal of the season and got the Wildcat offense going early when her second minute header off a corner kick from senior midfielder Jazmin Ponce made it 1-0 Wildcats.
Arizona’s offense didn’t slow down from there, as two minutes later, Ponce got a goal of her own off of a free kick just outside the Hawaii penalty box. A 17th minute goal from Hawaii’s Kama Pascua cut the Wildcat lead in half, but Ponce scored on another free kick, this time from nearly 40 yards out in the 24th minute.
Ponce, who now has six goals on the year, said she is happy with her strong start to the season.
Savannah Douglas / Arizona Daily Wildcat Hannah Wong fights for the ball against Hawaii on Friday.
“It’s been great,” Ponce said. “I was just ready to get it done tonight. It’s my senior year, so I’ve got to get as many goals as I can and just do something this year.”
Both offenses slowed down in the second half with the only goal coming from UA sophomore midfielder and New Zealand native, Hannah Wong, in the 53rd minute when the Rainbow Wahine were unable to clear a scramble in front of Hawaii’s goal.
“It was good,” Wong said of her second goal of the season. “We were building really well in the second half, and it just came to me at the top of the box. It was a bit of luck, but it’s still nice to score the goal.”
Hawaii, a team that defeated Oregon and Oregon State earlier in the year, created a handful of opportunities throughout the second half but failed to take advantage.
The Wildcats outshot the Rainbow Wahine 20-12.
Arizona head coach Tony Amato said he was pleased with how the Wildcats reacted to Hawaii’s adjustments as the game proceeded.
“We came out and put two early ones in and set a good tone to the match,” Amato said. “But then for about 15 minutes after that, they got in the game and started causing us some problems. We did some substitutions in the last 15 minutes, got composed and retook control of the game, and that carried on into the second half.”
With the non-conference schedule wrapped up, Arizona now moves on to the difficult Pac-12 stretch that begins Sunday, when the Wildcats take on No. 4 UCLA at home.
—Follow Brian Peel @BrianPeel91