Arizona soccer: Wildcats not fazed by 100-degree temperatures

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Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona defender Brynn Moga (7) swoops in as Denver forward Leah Swander (14) goes down at the Sun Devil Desert Classic at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium in Tempe on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. The Wildcats won the matchup 3-0.

The heat doesn’t bother the Wildcats.

The UA soccer team is set to play a pair of games in Tempe this weekend, where temperatures are expected to reach triple digits.

But don’t expect the temperature to slow down the Wildcats.

“We’re used to it,” said junior forward Gabi Stoian. “We’re used to playing in that.”

Indeed, the Wildcats’ training and Sunday afternoon home matches — particularly early in the season — are conducted in the same weather they’re going to be exposed to in Tempe.

And they’re fine with that.

“You have to able to play in anything,” said Jaden DeGracie-Bailey, senior midfielder. “And we’re from Arizona and that’s the beauty of it — we’re the ones that can push through it because we’ve been running sprints through it all summer.”

On the flip side, it’s safe to say the teams Arizona will be facing in Tempe haven’t been running sprints in that type of weather.

The Wildcats will face Denver and Columbia, two teams from much different climates.

“I don’t know anyone else that has 115-degree weather,” DeGracie-Bailey joked.

Teams from Colorado and New York certainly don’t.

Arizona Head Coach Tony Amato said his team’s game plan won’t change because of the weather, but there’s no denying that it should give Arizona at least a slight advantage.

“I’ve always looked at the heat and said ‘well it’s hot for us too’, but I would imagine [Denver and Columbia] will be drinking more water on that day than we will,” Amato said.

In fact, the Wildcats, a team known for pressuring the ball, have reaped the benefits before.

“When we played other teams that weren’t from a hot part of the U.S., I feel like we’ve had the advantage,” Stoian said. “I mean, they need a water break like halfway through the half and we’d be fine if we didn’t get one, so I think the heat definitely helps us.”

Arizona, as part of the Sun Devil Desert Classic, will play Denver on Friday at 7 p.m. and then will cap off the weekend against Columbia on Sunday at 11 a.m.

There’s no guarantee the Wildcats can come away with a pair of wins this weekend, but one thing is guaranteed — It’s going to be hot, 100-plus degrees hot.

“But I’d be more worried if I was from New York,” Amato said with a smile.


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