Arizona soccer: Wildcats shut out by Oregon, likely ending UA's postseason aspirations
Arizona defender Brynn Moga (7) and Colorado forward Stephanie Zuniga (19) deliver simutaneous kicks at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.
The Arizona soccer team arrived in Eugene, Oregon desperate for a win to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive, but it was blanked by the Ducks 1-0 Thursday night on the rain-soaked turf at Papé Field.
Oregon midfielder Maryn Beutler looped a shot from 20 yards out into the top right corner of net, scoring the game's lone goal in the 31st minute, handing Arizona yet another one-goal loss.
Here is Maryn Beutler's goal, which put Oregon up 1-0 over Arizona in the 31st minute pic.twitter.com/l7Aa7yMzIf— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapireUA) October 20, 2016
It's the Wildcats' seventh loss in their last eight games — six of which have been decided by one goal — dropping their record to 6-8-1 overall and 1-6 in Pac-12 Conference play, all but ending any chance at making the postseason.
"Our players worked and wanted to win, we just came up short today," Arizona head coach Tony Amato told Arizona Athletics after the game.
Arizona outshot Oregon 15-10, but failed to capitalize on several chances throughout the match.
Gabi Stoian and Paige Crouch paced the Wildcats early on, each putting up two shots in the first half, and Crouch had a prime opportunity in the 15th minute, taking a shot off a cross from the six-yard mark.
However, her attempt sailed just over the crossbar, and the Wildcats eventually headed to halftime down 1-0, even though they had outshot the Ducks 7-3.
"I think we had some good spells. It was unfortunate to give the goal away," Amato told the Pac-12 Network at halftime. "I thought we added some early pressure in the first part of the game, we won some corners, won some free kicks and we have to capitalize on one of those."
Crouch left the game in the 61st minute with an ankle injury, and was replaced by Charlotte Brascia, who immediately sparked the Wildcats' attack.
Brascia helped Arizona earn a pair of corner kicks, though both were cleared away by the Ducks.
Crouch then returned to the game in the 79th minute after getting her ankled taped, and she picked up where she left off, making a run forward with the ball past Oregon's backline.
UO starting goalkeeper Halla Hinriksdottir came out of the net to break up the play — and did — but was injured in the process, forcing backup goalkeeper Katelyn Carter into the game.
Carter was instantly tested when, in the 86th minute, Crouch found some space inside the box and fired a shot toward the right side of the net. Carter dove to her left to make the save, keeping Oregon's lead in tact.
Crouch finished with a game-high four shots, while three other Wildcats — Stoian, Cali Crisler and Laura Pimienta — added two.
The Wildcats continued to put pressure on Carter and the Oregon defense as the final moments ticked away, but to no avail.
In the 87th minute, a well-placed corner kick by Stoian landed in front of the net, and the ball was knocked around several times by Arizona players before finally being cleared away by Oregon.
Look at this sequence. Arizona just couldn't finish. pic.twitter.com/UezYINYpxw— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapireUA) October 21, 2016
Arizona's defense recovered after Beutler's first half goal, and UA goalkeeper Lainey Burdett recorded two saves, including a diving save in the 76th minute off a long-distance shot from Oregon's Marissa Everett to keep the game at 1-0, but the offense just couldn't find the net.
"We were able to put them under pressure in the second half and create some better chances," Amato told Arizona Athletics. "All we can do is focus on the things we need to win on Sunday and approach that match with a winning personality."
An NCAA Tournament appearance is likely out of the picture for the Wildcats now, as only four games remain on the schedule, but they'll look to snap their three-game losing skid Sunday when they face Oregon State (7-8-1 overall, 1-6 Pac-12).
Game time in Corvallis, Oregon is set for 1 p.m.
Arizona has beaten OSU in three straight matches. The Beavers picked up their first Pac-12 win Thursday night against ASU.
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