What UA women’s soccer can expect in the first round of the NCAA Tournament

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Rasool Patterson | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona women's soccer player Jada Talley (22 ) attempts to score on the goalie in the Arizona-Washington game at Murphy Stadium on Thursday, October 18, 2018, in Tucson, AZ. The Wildcats won the game 1-0 in double overtime.

The University of Arizona women’s soccer team will return to Mulcahy Stadium Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. to host the Denver Pioneers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

By winning their last Pac-12 match with Arizona State 1-0, the ‘Cats were able to clinch a spot at the NCAA Tournament. According to the NCAA women’s soccer RPI, Arizona finished No. 29. Only the top 32 teams get to host a game.

UA head coach Tony Amato is now in his sixth year as the program's head coach. This will be the fourth time in the last five years that Arizona has made it into the tournament and their second consecutive year hosting a game; last year they hosted TCU.

The last time Arizona and Denver played against each other was back in 2016. The Wildcats then came out on top with a score of 3-0. But as we all know, each year every team is different. Some players leave the program and others come in. The Wildcats cannot get confident over a score that they put up two years ago.

However, let’s talk about what is known about this 2018 Denver team.

This is their second-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their 11th time participating in a chance to win a national title. Denver finished with a record of 13-5-2, 7-1-0 in conference, and won 10 of its last 11 matches. The Pioneers are coming off a six-game winning streak and are looking to make it seven Friday.

In comparison, Arizona finished their season with a record of 12-5-2, 5-4-2 in conference. The 'Cats have lost only one game at home. The Wildcats have given up 16 goals but have scored more than double that with 34.

Two of the players on this UA team roster are from Colorado and will be playing club and high school teammates that they grew up with. Sophomore Amanda Porter and junior Kelcey Cavarra are from Littleton, Colorado and played at Columbine High School.

Similarly, the Pioneers let only 14 goals in and have scored 38 of their chances. When it comes to stats, both of these teams are very similar in records, execution of goals and how many they let in.

Both teams have played Colorado and Cal State Fullerton in their 2018 season. Denver lost to Colorado 2-1 and UA tied them 1-1 in a game that went into overtime. Both the Pioneers and Wildcats defeated Cal State Fullerton, Denver with a 2-0 win and Arizona with a 2-1 win.

Offensively both teams have their go-to player when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net. For Denver it is Samantha Feller, who has scored nine goals this season and has four assists. Representing red and blue, Jada Talley is the one who is leading this season with goals. She currently has seven and picked up one assist.

On the other end of the spectrum are the goalkeepers. Lainey Burdett for Arizona has been a key player in her team’s success this year. She is currently a record holder with the most shut outs in Arizona history with 25 and eight of those just being in this season. For Denver, it is junior goalkeeper Brittany Wilson who has 10 shut outs this year.

Something we can expect from the game on Friday is two teams battling until the last minute to get the result they want. The winner of the game will be moving on the to the second round and will play the winner between Louisville or Tennessee.


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