From the opening kickoff, the speed of No. 17 Rutgers proved too much for the Arizona soccer team as they were shutout 3-0 at home last night.
""They came out exactly how we told our team they would, I thought we were prepared but we just didn't execute,"" said Arizona head coach Dan Tobias. ""The ironic part is that … we're trying to be a team that turns turnovers or a lack of concentration from our opponent into goals for us, and I thought that's exactly what they did to us.""
Before the Wildcats even had a chance to react to the Scarlett Knights' speed, forward Stefanee Pace connected on a goal from the top of the box in the third minute of the game to give Rutgers the early 1-0 lead.
""When you make errors in the bottom of your midfield third, teams of this stature will turn them into goals,"" Tobias said. ""We didn't handle their pressure very well.""
Rutgers again took advantage of the Wildcats' inability to clear the ball as forward Ashley Jones scored on an assist by midfielder Rheanne Sleiman, giving the Scarlett Knights a 2-0 lead.
Rutgers knew coming into the game that they wanted to get out to an early start after suffering a 2-1 loss to No. 21 San Diego.
""We had a theme prior to the game, we wanted to get at them early,"" said Rutgers head coach Glenn Crooks. ""We thought it was necessary to get to a good start, we really put them on their heels a lot and that was definitely a result of the first and second goal.""
Rutgers suffered injuries to two starters in the first half; forward Karla Schacher fell on her back awkwardly and midfielder Gina DeMaio appeared to sprain her right ankle. Despite those injuries, the Scarlett Knights were able to continue their dominance over the Wildcats.
Arizona's only true scoring chance came when forward Renae Cuellar broke away from the pack in the 31st minute but missed the net wide right.
""We had too many opportunities that seemed like they would turn into chances but turned into half chances,"" Tobias said. ""We had some players try to do a little too much instead of finding spaces earlier.""
In a game where each team received two yellow cards and were called for 19 fouls combined, Tobias admitted that the calls might have affected the way the game was played.
""Sometimes that breaks the rhythm of the game. I think we as a group let those things irritate us and we shouldn't,"" he said. ""I think we spent too much energy on that stuff, and we, myself first, can't control it, so we shouldn't worry about that.""
The Wildcats will now focus their energy on preparing for Brigham Young University on Saturday at Murphey Field.
""Our schedule is favorable for us, so we'll watch the tape and bounce back on Saturday,"" Tobias said.