Arizona soccer and TCU matchup in 1st round of NCAA Tournament; Here is what you need to know

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Arizona goalie Lainey Burdett catches the ball mid-air during the women's soccer game against UC Irvine on Aug. 25.

Arizona Soccer gets set to take on TCU in tonight's NCAA Tournament opener at Mulcahy Stadium at 7:00 pm. 

It was almost heaven for TCU in the Big 12 tournament, after beating West Virginia in the semifinals. They, however, fell to Baylor 2-1 in the cup final.

Both goals scored by Baylor are good signs for the Wildcats. The Bear’s first goal was scored on a low cross that found its way through the box, which was eventually hammered home. That goal is reminiscent of Gabi Stoian’s equalizer against BU off a Cali Crisler cross. Baylor’s second goal came courtesy of a through ball. Midfielder Aline De Lima received the ball from a center back, who won the ball at the center line. Baylor was playing a high line, which allowed the back line to win the ball. De Lima was then able to exploit the distance between TCU’s back line by slipping a ball past a center back, letting Lauren Piercy run onto the ball and score the golden goal.

Between the smart center back play of Samantha Falasco and Brandi Park, Kennedy Kieneker’s passing ability at the number six position, and Jill Aguilera’s combination of speed and creativity, Arizona has before and can attack this way.  Baylor’s game winner contained aspects of many of Arizona’s strengths throughout the year. They pressed high against Texas Tech, and outshot the Red Raiders 18-2. Arizona played very quickly through the midfield against the big four in the Pac-12, as well as send Aguilera and Charlotte Brascia on runs behind the line. Arizona has played up the wings recently, to counteract the style of play of the Washington schools and ASU. UA may look to do so as well against the Horned Frogs, to stretch their defensive line laterally, and open holes for their forwards. 

Furthermore, TCU scored their one goal of the match from the penalty spot. Keeper Lainey Burdett has a 50% success rate on penalties this season. It is highly unlikely that she’ll have to defend another on Friday, though. 

TCU has success on offense in a similar way. The Horned Frogs like to stretch defenses and catch them out of position. They play a fast, quick paced offense that requires defenses to be cerebral in their field mobility. Wing backs Morgan McGarry and Sabrina Ensciso may be more hesitant than usual to get into the attack for this reason.

TCU boasted several tournament honors after their second place finish in the Big-12. Goalkeeper Katie Lund was named the Defensive Most Outstanding Player, as well being named to the All- Tournament Team. Defender Ryan Williams, Midfielder Kayla Hill and Forward Allison Ganter were additionally named to the team. TCU finished the season 12-6-3, and 6-2-1 in conference. Arizona and TCU both played Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. Arizona beat Oklahoma and Texas Tech, and drew Colorado. TCU, on the other hand, lost to Colorado, beat Texas Tech in extra time, and beak Oklahoma soundly.

The winner of this match travels to Palo Alto to play the winner of Hofstra and Auburn. Arizona has a good shot at making that journey, especially if they have good support from the crowd (Not the regulars, but students. Outside of students, the ‘Cats have a great fan base). The game is Friday at 7 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium. The game will be broadcast by Arizona on their live stream.  


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