The Arizona men's club soccer program made a statement this past weekend in Flagstaff and is looking to make its mark in San Diego's Aztec Cup Sept. 18-20.
""It was a really solid start to our season,"" team vice president Nicholas Markel said. ""There was nothing (NAU) could do.""
Although the team has been separated into ‘A' and ‘B' squads, both Arizona groups dominated the competition.
The ‘A' team held NAU scoreless in a 2-0 victory, and the ‘B' team defeated New Mexico Tech 9-0 and 6-0 in two contests.
""Chalk (the shutouts) up to our defense,"" Markel said. ""We don't expect to get scored on too much this year. In past years, that has been a problem.""
As for the Arizona's preparation this season, the team feels like it has a solid advantage.
""We have like 35 field players and five goalies on the team so practicing is really great because we can run two full-sided games at a time,"" Arizona goalie Giuseppe DeMasi said.
Players who have been standing out so far according to DeMasi and Markel include defender Dan Redden, forward Sean Blea and Alberto Romagnolo. With their help, Arizona has demonstrated a much more physical presence on the field.
""Romagnolo is a guy that should be playing professionally,"" Markel said. ""He just has that gracefulness on the field.""
Having executed such sound performances early on, the team shifts its focus and excitement ahead to this weekend's Aztec Cup tournament, where the Wildcats look to take on Weber State University, California and USC.
The California soccer teams will provide a challenge for Arizona.
""California teams are always pretty tough, because they also have Division I programs out there,"" Markel said.
That's because some of the California players play on the club teams as prerequisites for the Division I squads. That factor hasn't fazed the Wildcats, though.
""Everyone's excited for (the Aztec Cup),"" DeMasi said, ""especially all the (returnees). SDSU is just an awesome atmosphere to play in. They have a really bad astro-turf field, but it's still a great tournament setting. We always have a strong showing at that tournament.""