Soccer to take on No. 1 UCLA
Arizona junior defensive midfielder Alexa Montgomery (20) puts pressure on a fellow team in a scrimmage during practice on Tuesday at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium. Montgomery and the Wildcats face No. 1 UCLA on the road on Friday.
In what should be its most difficult game of the season, Arizona soccer (9-3-1, 3-2-0) heads to Los Angeles this weekend to take on the No. 1 UCLA Bruins on Friday at 7 p.m. Friday night’s matchup with the Bruins is the only game of the weekend for the Wildcats, which is probably a good thing, considering how UCLA is not only the defending national champion but also remains undefeated this season.
Last weekend, the Wildcats played .500 soccer when they pulled off the 4-1 upset of then-No. 21 Washington State before falling to Washington by the final score of 2-0.
According to Wildcat junior defender Alexa Montgomery, Arizona has to move on to UCLA even after the disappointing showing against Washington.
“Well, we beat Washington State, which was huge for us, because we hadn’t done that since 2005,” Montgomery said. “It was unfortunate that we couldn’t beat Washington as well. We really wanted those two road games, but we know UCLA is up next.”
UCLA comes into Friday’s game with the Wildcats as not only one of the most dominant teams in the country but also in the program’s illustrious history. The Bruins are currently on a school record 34-game unbeaten streak going back to last season, including a national championship and a close 2-1 victory over Arizona in Tucson last September.
This season, UCLA has outscored its opponents at a ridiculous rate of 31-4 and have been led by several players, including Sam Mewis, whose nine goals are tied for second in the Pac-12 Conference, and Sarah Killion, who leads the conference in assists with nine. Senior goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland was an All-American last season after leading the country in goals against average and is well on her way there again this season.
Even with the difficult matchup, Arizona head coach Tony Amato is confident his team will be ready to go against the No. 1 team in the country.
“They’re a great team,” Amato said. “They’re number one in the country, number one in the RPI and they are up there for a reason. We know it is going to be a challenge, but we are going to approach it with a nothing to lose attitude, have a winning mentality and try and get better out of the game. I think our girls are willing to rise to challenges, and they will be ready to play on Friday.”
Follow Brian Peel on Twitter.