Arizona survives late rally to secure final win before conference play
It was an eventful Saturday night at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium as the Arizona Wildcats hosted the TCU Horned Frogs for the final match before the start of conference play next week. In a game that had 7 total goals, an ejection and a pre-game escape of the petting zoo animals, Arizona came out on top and escaped with a 4-3 win.
The first half was full of action as Arizona’s high press was in full effect. The Wildcats wasted no time getting on the board thanks to a Brooke Wilson goal in the second minute that was buried in the back of the net for her fifth goal of the season.
“I won the header, which was huge, so I knew this had to be a goal in some way, so I was excited to be able to get the finish on it,” Wilson said.
The lead for Arizona, however, did not last long as TCU answered right back with a goal of its own in the 12th minute. The Horned Frogs found a crack in the defense and slipped a ball through the backline, allowing for Grace Collins to score and tie the game.
TCU found itself on its back foot early in the second half after a tough challenge inside the box resulted in a penalty kick and a red card, forcing TCU to play with 10 players from the 60th minute on. Senior Samantha Falasco took advantage of the costly error and slotted home the penalty kick to give the 'Cats a 2-1 lead.
Falasco talked about what went through her mind when she took the penalty.
“I was very confident in myself, so I think it was a really good opportunity for me to step up and help my confidence going through the rest of the season,” she said.
The game opened up in the 79th minute when Jill Aguilera punched in a free kick from outside the box to give Arizona its third goal of the night, pushing the lead to 3-1. TCU's foul set up Aguilera’s third goal of the year.
The Wildcats continued to take advantage of the shorthanded Horned Frogs when Aguilera scored again just one minute later, her fourth of the season and the team's fourth of the night.
TCU did not go down silently, though, as Yazmeen Ryan sparked the comeback in the 84th minute. The goal came off of a free kick that she put past the diving Hope Hisey, placing TCU within two goals.
TCU kept the pressure on Arizona when Ryan came up again to score the team’s third goal and trimmed the lead to 4-3. The pair of goals from the star midfielder wasn’t enough as time expired, however, and Arizona earned its sixth win of the season.
After the match, Head Coach Tony Amato shared his thoughts on the game.
“In college soccer, you got to find ways to win games, so credit to our group for doing that,” Amato said. “In the first half, there were some little things that I wanted to improve on, and I thought we did in the second half.”
The Wildcats will play their first conference game against Colorado at home next Friday at 7 p.m.
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