Huskies Hold Off Arizona, 2-1, In Regular-Season Finale
Nov. 9, 2008
SEATTLE - Despite playing the final 50 minutes a player down and the entire match without its head coach, the Washington Huskies used goals by junior Veronica Perez and freshman Kate Deines, and held off a late rally by Arizona, to win their final regular-season match, 2-1, Sunday at Husky Soccer Field.
UW finishes the regular-season on a six-game unbeaten streak, improving to 14-5-1 overall and 5-3-1 in Pac-10 play, and finishing tied for the third in the Pac-10. The 14 wins mark UW's third-highest win total in school history and mark its most victories in a season since earning 17 in 2004. UW will find out its postseason fate on Monday at 5 p.m., but are almost assured its first postseason berth since 2004.
The Huskies got on the board early, as they have so many times this season, when junior Veronica Perez scored her 12th goal of the season in the 13th minute, moving her into fourth on the all-time single season charts. Perez took possession of a loose ball in the corner and made a couple moves on an Arizona defender, finally freeing herself up for a shot at the goal. With her left foot, Perez sent in an arching shot which bounced over the head of the Wildcats' goalkeeper on the slick field, giving UW the early lead.
With just five minutes left in the first half, the Huskies had another scoring opportunity when freshman Alex Webber chased after a loose ball which was heading toward the goal. Both Webber and UA goalkeeper Chelsea McIntyre slid for the ball at the same time, but Webber was given a red card which meant the Huskies would have to play the rest of the game with 10 players.
The Huskies were already without head coach Lesle Gallimore, who received a red card in Friday's win over Arizona State and had to sit out Sunday's match, and associate head coach Amy Griffin, who is in New Zealand at the Under-17 Women's World Cup as an assistant coach with the U.S. national team.
UW showed its grit and determination as they maintained much of the possession in the second half despite being a player short. Then in the 63rd minute, UW lined up for a free kick which junior Jenna Robison sent into the box. Sophomore Jane Mitchell took a shot at the goal but new Wildcat goalkeeper Ashley Jett blocked the ball. That gave Deines an open look and she sent the ball into the back of the net to give UW a 2-0 advantage.
Arizona then went on the attack over the final 20 minutes, finally getting on the board in the 82nd minute when Leila Amini sent in a corner kick which UW freshman goalkeeper Kari Davidson punched out, but Analisa Marquez was right there to find the back of the net and get the Wildcats within reach.
Facing enormous pressure from Arizona over the final 10 minutes, UW tightened up its defense and made sure they finished their Senior Day on a high note. UW finished the season 7-1 at Husky Soccer Field, only falling to No. 3 Stanford.
'The games are not dull around here, I'll tell you,' UW assistant coach Jim Thomas said. 'Losing a coach is tough and then losing a player was even more difficult, but one of the things about this team that has been so great, and you could see that today, is the amount of heart they have and the way they've been able to draw together as a team. Every win is big this time of year and the manner in which our team has come together has been exceptional.
'I'm not going to lie, my heart started to flutter a little bit,' Thomas said about Arizona's late goal. 'But I had confidence we would seal the game, it was just a matter of re-focusing and closing it out.'
Gallimore, who watched from the stands, continued to be impressed with her young team, which graduates just three players who saw playing time this season and has started as many as four freshmen at one time.
'I couldn't be more proud of Jim and (volunteer assistant) Miranda (Armstrong) for taking over the team,' Gallimore said. 'From afar, the team just looked professional. They looked settled, they looked composed and they looked confident that regardless of playing with eight, nine or 10 players they were going to do okay. They gave up the goal late to make it a little more stressful but getting a second goal a player down was huge. They did what they needed to do to get it done.
'Our team is beyond our years because we are a very young team,' Gallimore continued. 'There's just a great balance in all their composure, even the freshman. Kate is a freshman, Kendyl Pele is a sophomore, and they're composed beyond their years. Kari Davidson is a freshman and she's composed. As a coach, you can't ask for anything more. Having a little more of an objective view today, it was fun to see.'
UW will find out its post-season fate on Monday at 5 p.m. when the NCAA selection show on ESPNEWS.
NCAA Women's Soccer
Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008
Washington 2, Arizona 1
Shots - UW 12, UA 11
Corners - UW 5, UA 4
Saves - UW 5 (Kari Davidson), UA 3 (Ashley Jett)
Fouls - UW 12, UA 11
Offsides - UW 7, UA 2
Records:Washington 14-5-1, 5-3-1
Arizona 9-11-0, 2-7-0
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