Arizona soccer readies for battle against Tennessee

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Aly Cantor | The Daily Wildcat Emily Knous, freshman, keeps the ball in play during the game at Murphey Field in Tucson, AZ on Sunday September 30, 2018. The game ended in a 1-1 tie.

Arizona soccer will play Tennessee for a chance to return to the Sweet 16.

Arizona is heading to the second round of the NCAA tournament after defeating Denver 3-0 on Friday, Nov. 9 at Mulcahy Stadium. Goals were scored by Kennedy Kieneker, Amanda Porter and Kelcey Cavarra.

The Wildcats will face off against Tennessee in Knoxville at Regal Stadium on Friday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. The Tennessee Volunteers beat Louisville in their first round game 2-1. Both goals in that game were credited to senior Bunny Shaw which puts her at 13 goals this season. 

Tennessee competes in the SEC conference and has found success this 2018 season by returning to the NCAA tournament. This is their second consecutive year competing for a national title. They had not been a part of the tournament before then since 2012. Their current record is 14-2-3 and 7-2-1 in their conference. 

Clearly dangerous offensively and also effective defensively, the Vols have successfully scored 38 goals and have only given up 11 goals. They were ranked No. 9 according to the NCAA women’s soccer RPI. 

Maya Neal, Brice, McInroy, Danielle Marcan and Ma Vignola are just some of the players on this Tennessee roster who have had some type of U.S. Women’s National Team youth experience, whether it was getting invited to training camps or actually getting to compete in matches and represent the red, white and blue. 

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Shaw also has international experience and a historic one at that as she led the Jamaican Women’s National Team to their first World Cup berth and scored 19 goals in 13 games. 

Arizona is 13-5-2 overall and their away record is 3-4-0. Knoxville, Tenn. is a long way away from home. Arizona will have to travel the farthest they’ve ever gone to face their opponent this year. In 2017, the ‘Cats lost to Florida State 2-0 in the second round of the NCAA but only traveled as far as Palo Alto, Calif. to face them.

Arizona and Tennessee have faced off before. In 2010 these two teams played against each other in Tempe at the Sun Devil Desert Classic and beat them 3-1.

In the last 10 years, the farthest Arizona has traveled was in 2013 to Florida, Boca Raton and Miami to play Florida Atlantic and Florida International University. They picked up two wins that weekend, 1-0 and 4-2. 

Lainey Burdett and her strong backline continued to increase her shut-out record on Friday to 26 and  Burdett now has nine alone this year. Different players have stepped up during important games to score goals as well. Jada Talley leads in goals with seven but against Denver is was Cavarra who scored a penalty kick and her first goal of the season.  

All games in the NCAA tournament are always competitive. Every team is competing for a national title and trophy. Both teams can expect to leave it all out of the field in order to move on to the third round and become a part of the Sweet 16. The winner of this game will play either Texas A&M or TCU who also play on Friday at 12 p.m.


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