Arizona soccer loses conference opener to Colorado at home
Arizona women's soccer lost the conference opener against UC Boulder Friday night by a final score of 1-2. The strength of the Arizona women’s soccer team is represented more in the game statistics rather than in the final score, however.
The first goal was awarded to Arizona as an own goal from Colorado during a corner kick at the start of the game. Colorado received its first goal 38 minutes into the first half by a free kick. Both teams battled it out for an extensive amount of time, so the score remained tied until the second overtime where Colorado scored off a penalty kick.
After the loss on Friday night, the Wildcats seemed a little shaken up. It was clearly not what the team had expected for the home conference opener.
“I just think it’s defeating sometimes when you get beat off things that I say aren’t goals, like, they were just given by the ref," said junior forward Jada Talley. "It was a free kick and a [penalty kick]. They didn’t beat out defense at all or score on the run of play, so it shows teams if you look at the stats, you have got to get fouls to beat us, so it’s good and bad. We lost, but it shows teams we are not just a team you can run through and score 20 goals on in the middle of the field.”
Colorado made a total of 17 shots and only nine made it toward Arizona’s goal. The Wildcats protected seven of them. Freshman goalie Hope Hisey competed in her first Pac-12 game and made impressive verticals to block balls and aggressive dives to defend any ball that came her way.
Arizona was also able to keep the ball on the offensive side for most of the game. The performance of the back line kept Colorado’s offense sitting back. This allowed the forwards of Arizona to set up many shots, but the timing of crosses seemed off. This might be in part to the wicked speed of Jada Talley.
“When I am full freaking go, I know it’s hard for people to push up sometimes," Talley said, "so that would be something we have to work on going forward: for people to anticipate, so they can get up and help to be there at the same time for my cross, because I just know that is something we are struggling with right now."
In the future, Arizona's goal should be for the back line to continue to push the ball ahead and for the forwards to properly time shots with the openings the defense is giving them. If they will be able to execute this in the next game against fellow Pac-12 team UCLA, however, remains to be seen.
“They are no different than any other team we play," Talley said of UCLA. "We are always going to come out hard and I feel like people don’t expect us to scrap and have as much energy as we come out with, so it’s just one of those things. We will play them like any other team. I don’t think they are any better than us."
Overall, Arizona's loss to Boulder seemed to have a bittersweet ending. It is never fun to take on a loss from a penalty kick, but it proved to Arizona how strong its defense is and what the team can work on going forward.
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