The Arizona soccer team suffered their fourth straight loss to No. 21 University of Southern California at home by a score of 4-1 on Sunday, Oct. 3.
Arizona started the game strong with forward Jill Aguilera taking a shot that was barely saved by USC’s goalkeeper Anna Smith in the fifth minute. They continued to be aggressive and scored on a chaotic goal inside the box from Jenna Studer in the 10th minute.
The ball came her way after a corner kick. The ball bounced between the players around the goal until Arizona’s Madison Goerlinger passed the ball to Studer who shot the ball past Smith to take an early lead.
USC followed with a goal in the 18th minute. Penelope Hocking received a pass from Helena Sampaio and Hocking took the shot to equalize the game at 1-1. USC started to become more dominant and took over possession after their goal but was not able to score on any of their shots. Arizona did not take another shot before the end of the half.
In the second half, Arizona started with an incredible save from goalkeeper Hope Hisey in the 49th minute. Hisey initially went the wrong way on the shot but readjusted in a split second to make the leaping save that kept the game tied. USC continued to control possession, leading to a barrage of shots from Hocking and Savannah DeMelo.
Studer not only made an impact offensively but defensively when she blocked what would have been a wide-open goal in the 64th minute. In the 69th minute, Jada Talley scored on a cross from Madeline Vergura to make the score 2-1.
Talley, who transferred to USC from Arizona over the summer, scored the goal in her first game back at Mulcahy stadium.
“If I want to score one, it’s going to be in this game,” Talley said. “Coach set it up for us to be successful today, so I’m really happy with our performance today.”
After USC’s second goal, things broke down for Arizona. USC’s Jaelyn Eisenhart took a long shot that just barely went over Hisey and into the top corner of the net to extend the lead 3-1 in the 80th minute.
In the 84th minute, USC ended any hope the Wildcats may have had of a late comeback extending the lead to 4-1. Simi Awujo passed the ball between three Arizona defenders to Croix Bethune who shot the ball past Hisey who was racing out to try to stop the shot. Arizona was unable to do anything in the final six minutes of the game.
Studer gave insight on the second half and how the game got away from the team.
“I think it’s an energy thing and believing in ourselves," Studer said. "New team, new coach, we all believe that we can do this we just have to show it and prove it,” Studer said.
Head coach Becca Moros was blunt when describing the result of the game.
"I think fatigue played a factor … we have some players that looked pretty strong for 20 minutes and then kind of fade out,” Moros said. “I think that’s a conditioning thing, and obviously we played on Thursday and we played on Sunday, but so did USC and they seemed to manage that fatigue better than we do. That’s something we need look to figure out.”
Arizona’s record now is 3-7-0, opening conference play with a record of 0-3. The Wildcats will hit the road and play Oregon State University at Papé Field on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. MST.
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