Wildcat Women's Soccer Makes Home Debut This Weekend

Sept. 4, 2001

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's soccer team (0-1-0) makes its 2001 home debut this weekend with a pair of matches. The Wildcats will take on regional foe New Mexico (0-1-1) on Friday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m., then they face first-year program Southern Utah (0-2-0) on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 12 p.m. Both contests will be played at Murphey Stadium, 15th St. and Plumer Ave. in Tucson.

ABOUT ARIZONA: The Wildcats are 0-1-0 after opening their season with a 4-2 loss at then-fifth-ranked Nebraska last Thursday. Arizona is currently on a 10-game losing skid, dating back to last season.

Sophomore forward Liz Bartlett, who was the Wildcats' top scorer last year, picked up where she left off, notching Arizona's first goal of the 2001 season in the second half at Nebraska. Freshman forward Vanesha Bailey notched her first collegiate goal midway through the second half of the Nebraska game. Another freshman forward, Candice Wilks has a team-high three shots on the season, including a pair on-goal.

In the nets, senior goalkeeper Shannon Monti has played all 90 minutes of the season thus far, allowing four goals and making five saves.

ABOUT NEW MEXICO: In the midst of a season-opening five-game road swing, the Lobos stand at 0-1-1 on the year following a two-game trip back East last weekend. UNM tied Colgate, 1-1 in overtime, during its season opener on Friday, then lost at Syracuse, 4-1, on Saturday.

Two Lobos have garnered one goal (two points) apiece -- sophomore forward Camille Bremer and freshman midfielder Rachael Addison. Freshman midfielder LeAnne Hendren has the club's only assist (one point) of the season thus far. Junior forward Marte Dolva and sophomore midfielder Erchen Theys lead the team with five shots each.

Senior goalkeeper Shelly Hammock played every minute of both games last weekend, tallying a 2.14 goals against average and 14 saves.

Head coach Kit Vela (Brown, 1990) holds a 0-1-1 mark in her first year at the helm of the New Mexico program. She came to UNM after a five-year stint as assistant coach at USC.

THE SERIES vs. NEW MEXICO: The series between Arizona and New Mexico is tied at 2-2-1. The Wildcats won last year's meeting, 3-2 in overtime, in Albuquerque. Arizona is on a modest two-game win streak in the series.

LAST TIME vs. UNM: The Wildcats snapped a four-game losing skid by downing New Mexico, 3-2 in overtime, on Sept. 14, 2000, in Albuquerque.

New Mexico took the lead early with a goal at 15:41, then Arizona retaliated with its own goal, an unassisted tally by Meaghan McNatt. Liz Bartlett scored her first collegiate goal at 62:36 to give the Cats a 2-1 advantage, with Tiffany Sabado assisting.

With less than seven minutes remaining in the contest, the Lobos knotted the score and forced the match into overtime. The contest was nearly 13 minutes into the overtime period when senior Keri Kennedy-Weber scored her second goal in as many games and nailed the victory for the Wildcats.

ABOUT SOUTHERN UTAH: First-year program Southern Utah holds an 0-2-0 record after opening its inaugural season with a 3-1 loss at Northern Arizona last Friday, then falling, 2-0, at home to William Penn on Monday.

Sophomore midfielder Jessica Walton has scored Southern Utah's only goal (two points) of the season thus far. Junior forward Ilene Dixon had the lone assist. Walton and senior midfielder Amber Johnson lead the Thunderbirds with four shots each.

Thunderbird head coach Brian Stock (Akron, 1995) holds an 0-2-0 record in his first year as a head coach.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Playing its season opener on the road last Friday, Arizona fell to fifth-ranked Nebraska, 4-2, in Lincoln, Neb.

The Huskers ripped off three goals in the first 21 minutes of the contest, and the Cats were unable to dent the net until the second half. Sophomore forward Liz Bartlett, who was the UA's leading scorer as a rookie last year, picked up where she left off and scored Arizona's first goal of the 2001 season. She gathered a sloppy clear from a Nebraska defender and found the back of the net at 48:50 in the second stanza.

Seeing her first action as a collegian, freshman forward Vanesha Bailey took advantage of bad positioning by NU's goalkeeper and scored 13 minutes later, also unassisted, to bring the Cats to within one of the Huskers. A final Nebraska goal at 67:28 settled the game for good, however, and neither team scored over the final 23 minutes of the match.

Freshman forward Candice Wilks led the Cats with her three shots, including two on-goal, while Bailey and Bartlett each tallied a pair of shots. Senior midfielder Twila Kaufman and freshman forward Cassie Daniels had one shot apiece as the Wildcats were out-gunned, 33-9, for the contest. Senior goalkeeper Shannon Monti played all 90 minutes in-goal for the Wildcats, tallying five saves.

ARIZONA HEAD COACH CATHY KLEIN: Second-year head coach Cathy Klein (SUNY-Cortland, 1987) holds a 3-16-2 mark at the helm of the Arizona program. She has a Division I career record of 60-57-3 over six years and is 82-110-8 in 11 years as a head coach.

Klein was named as the Wildcats' new head coach in January, 2000. She came to the UA after a five-year stint building a new women's soccer program at Iowa State. In four varsity seasons with the Cyclones, Klein garnered a 43-37-1 mark. Before Iowa State, Klein was head coach at Creighton and Division III schools Earlham College and Utica College.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: In her second season at the UA, Melissa Estrada (Creighton, 1995) followed Cathy Klein from Iowa State, where Estrada was part of Klein's coaching staff for four years. She assists with recruiting and works with the field players.

Assistant coach Casey Mann (Grand View College, 1997) is in his first season with the Wildcats. His primary responsibility at the UA is coaching the goalkeepers. His wife, Tanya Mann, is also lending a hand as a volunteer assistant.

LOOKING AHEAD: Next weekend, Arizona will hit the road again for a stretch that will see the Cats play six out of eight matches away from Tucson. The Wildcats play at West Virginia on Friday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. EDT, then will play at Pittsburgh on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 12 p.m. EDT.

They will return home to face Pepperdine on Friday, Sept. 21 and UNLV on Sunday, Sept. 23.

PRACTICE SCHEDULE: All daily practices during the regular season, until Nov. 8, will be held from 2:30-4:30 p.m. The team will have weight-lifting sessions each Tuesday and Wednesday immediately after practice until 5:45 p.m., therefore no post-practice interviews on these days will be allowed until the strength training is completed.

Media are encouraged to attend all practices but are not permitted to converse with coaches or players during practice. Media can interview coaches and players after practice only. No pre-practice interviews will be permitted. All practices and games are conducted at Murphey Soccer Stadium, located at 15th Street and Plumer Ave.

BREAKING IN: Although only a sophomore, Liz Bartlett has broken into the Arizona career goal-scoring list, standing at No. 10 with six career goals. Senior midfielder Twila Kaufman just cracked the all-time shots list, holding down 10th place with 50 career shots. Kaufman is also sixth in career games started (55), tied for seventh in goals scored (7), eighth in games played (57) and ninth in total points (15).

LINEUP SHAKE-UP: Six new Wildcats made their debut in the UA starting lineup during the season opener at No. 5 Nebraska last Friday. A total of seven freshmen and sophomores played in that game, which saw Cathy Klein bring only three subs off the bench.

MONTI'S MUSINGS: Each week throughout the 2001 season, senior goalkeeper Shannon Monti will be sharing her thoughts with fans via the official UA athletics web site, www.arizcats.com.

RANKED OPPONENTS: Eight of the 18 opponents on Arizona's schedule this year are either nationally ranked or are receiving votes for ranking.

In the NSCAA Coaches Poll, UCLA is No. 2, Nebraska is No. 4, California is No. 12, Washington is No. 15, Stanford is No. 16 and Arizona State is No. 23. Brigham Young received votes for ranking.

The Soccer America Top 20 has UCLA at No. 2, Nebraska at No. 4, Washington at No. 8, California at No. 11, Stanford at No. 14 and Arizona State at No. 19.

In the SoccerBuzz.com national rankings, UCLA stands at No. 2, followed by #5 California, #8 Stanford, #9 Nebraska, #11 Washington, #18 Arizona State and #24 West Virginia. Brigham Young received votes for ranking.

RANKED OPPONENTS, PART DEUX: The UA played six nationally ranked opponents last year, more than in any other season in the program's history. The Cats' opener this year against No. 5 Nebraska on Aug. 31 marked the first time the UA has ever faced a ranked opponent in the first game of a season.

NOTING THE PAC-10: Most of the Pac-10 teams are off to a good start this season. Arizona State, California, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington are all currently 2-0-0, while Stanford and Oregon are 1-0-0. Five conference teams are nationally ranked in this week's NSCAA Coaches Poll.

SISTER ACT: The Wildcat roster features two pairs of sisters this year. Sophomores Liz and Samantha Bartlett are twins. Senior midfielder Erin Nelson and freshman defender Heather Nelson are also sisters.

CLOSE BUT...: The outcome of 10 of the Wildcats' 20 games last season was been decided by one goal or less. In the seven-year history of the Arizona soccer program, 55 matches have been decided by that one-goal-or-less differential.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 0-0-0 at home this season, 0-1-0 on the road and 0-0-0 in neutral games. Last year, Arizona garnered a 2-5-0 mark at home, was 1-8-1 on the road and was 0-0-1 in neutral matches.

TWICE IS NICE: Traditionally, the Cats have fared rather well when scoring two or more goals in a match. Over the eight years of Wildcat soccer, the UA has a 28-18-1 record when scoring two goals or more.

LOCAL CONNECTION: The 2001 Wildcat roster features three players from Tucson high schools -- Kristi Loro�a (Canyon del Oro), Erin Nelson (Sabino) and Heather Nelson (Sabino).

Six other players are from Phoenix-area high schools -- Christina Bobb (Mountain Pointe), Cassidy Guinn (Shadow Mountain), Jenn Meintel (Glendale Cactus), Tara Monteleone (Xavier College Prep), Shannon Monti (Shadow Mountain) and Courtney Russell (Glendale Cactus).

PAC-10 COACHES POLL: UCLA was tabbed by the league's coaches as the favorite to win the Pac-10 crown this year, while the Wildcats were picked to finish ninth, one spot higher than last season...
Pac-10 Preseason Women's Soccer Coaches Poll
2. California
3. Washington
4. Stanford
5. USC
6. Arizona State
7. Washington State
8. Oregon State
10. Oregon

2000 IN BRIEF: Under the direction of then-first-year head coach Cathy Klein, the squad finished the 2000 season with a 3-15-2 overall record that belies the progress which was actually made during the year. With a brutal schedule, the Wildcats played an unprecedented six nationally ranked teams, all in the final seven matches of the year.

Through a variety of events, including numerous injuries, Klein ended up with a group of only 15 players who were able to see action in more than half the season's games. Five freshmen and sophomores received the starting nod more than once.

The whole season, the Wildcats were just this close to a different outcome in many of their games. They played a school-record six overtime contests -- all within a nine-game stretch midway through the season. Ten of the season's 20 matches were decided by a margin of one goal or less. The squad set or tied 30 school records, including most overtime wins (two) and most corner kicks in a match (eight).

Although a late-season nine-game losing skid put a negative spin on the year, prospects for the future looked bright. Five of the Cats' top 11 scorers were freshmen and sophomores, and of eight of those 11 were slated to return in 2001.

INDIVIDUALLY IN 2000: Despite missing the last two matches of the season because of illness, freshman forward Liz Bartlett was Arizona's leading scorer, with five goals and one assist (11 points).

Junior forward Kristi Loro�a was second in scoring with four goals (eight points), followed closely by freshman midfielder Sierra Cristiano's three goals and one assist (seven points). Five other players registered one goal or more during the season. Junior Erin Nelson was the team leader in assists, with three, although a total of eight Wildcats were credited with assists for the year.

Junior goalkeeper Shannon Monti saw the majority of minutes for the Cats, starting all 20 matches and garnering 87 saves and a 2.59 goals-against average. She combined with senior Inger Airheart for the UA's only shutout of the season on Sept. 30.

Junior defender Cassidy Guinn was named the team's Most Valuable Player, while Cristiano was selected the Most Improved Player. Bartlett was the team's Newcomer of the Year, and senior defender Niki Aguiar received the Coach's Award.

Guinn and Bartlett were both honorable mention All-Pac-10 selections, marking the first time since 1997 that a Wildcat received all-conference honors.

Senior defender Kate Nighswander-Will was a second team Academic All-Pac-10 honoree for the first time in her career. Guinn, Monti, Nelson, senior defender Ann Giallonardo, junior midfielder Twila Kaufman and senior forward Keri Kennedy-Weber all received honorable mention Academic All-Pac-10 laurels.

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