By Andreas Zai / UA Sports
The University of Arizona women’s soccer team will host Arizona State University on Thursday, Nov. 2nd at 7 p.m. MST in Tucson, Ariz. this week. Arizona has a 3-17-1 record against Arizona State all time, but won their last match against the Sun Devils in Tempe last year 1-0.
Despite some early success this season, the Sun Devils have slipped into disarray with a 5-10-3 record (2-6-2 Pac-12). They have a notable 1-1 tie against former No. 11 California when they came back against the Golden Bears after conceding an early goal. Since then, they’ve lost six out of their last eight games.
Six Points at Home
Arizona hosted Washington and Washington State last weekend and disposed of both squads with only three goals. The Huskies went up early against the Wildcats but Kelcey Cavarra got her head on Morgan McGarry’s first career assist (off a corner) and Cali Crisler dished out another stellar assist to Charlotte Brascia’s foot to win it in the 86th minute for the Cats. Gabi Stoian scored her fourth of the season against Washington State as Brascia took her turn at assisting. Stoian’s shot curled into the bottom right corner of the frame past two defenders and a goalkeeper.
In the Burdett Cage
Junior Burdett has played all 17 matches for the Wildcats this season. Her goals-against average in those matches is only 0.765 as she has allowed only 13 goals. Although Burdett has a strong defensive line in front of her that has prevented most shots from finding the frame, Burdett has made some really huge saves this season. The match against Stanford saw 11 saves (career high) for Burdett, each one trumping the last as she used fingertips, kick saves, and fully-extended dives to hold back the Cardinal’s swell of shots. Burdett has seven shutouts on the season (including against former No. 11 California), pushing her career count to 19 (2nd all-time). She has 185 career saves which is eighth all-time.
This ones for the defense. Arizona has only lost one match when they got on the board this season (No. 7 UCF, 2-1). In every other match when the Wildcats have scored at least one goal, they have won or tied the match. That’s attributable to the rock-solid defense that has allowed only 85 shots-on-goal (5.0 per game) and have been a major component of Burdett’s seven shutouts.
Gone slightly unnoticed, these Wildcats are unbeaten in their last six matches with ties against Colorado at 0-0 (outshot 29-16) and No. 8 UCLA at 2-2. They finally joined the rankings after three consecutive weekends of votes and currently sit at No. 23.
Try marking this: twelve different players have scored for the Wildcats this season, including one defender and five bench players. This allows the Wildcats to develop their attack in multiple different ways – whether they are passing directly to their striker’s feet or over the top for speedy forwards to run onto, you can be sure Arizona has someone who can put the ball into the back of the net.
Cali Crisler is tied for the number one spot on the stat sheet this season because she has seven assists, her most recent one coming against Washington last weekend. She also earned her first goal of the season on a well-placed shot into the side netting against Utah. Arizona has taken 96 corners this season, over 90% of those coming from Crisler which have added to her ability to assist.
One More Go Around for Gabi
Senior Gabi Stoian is poised to finish her career as the most decorated player in Arizona history. Despite an injury early in the season, she has played just under 1,000 minutes for the Wildcats and has tallied four goals and one assist. She sits at second all-time in goals (29), assists (21), and points (79). She needs only four more goals, four assists, and five assists to break into the number one spot in each category. With one more regular season game and a (hopefully) long gambit of postseason matches, Stoian may just crack the number one spot after all.
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