Wildcat Soccer Plays Host to Arizona Invitational

Aug. 26, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's soccer team (0-0-0 overall, 0-0-0 Pac-10) will play host to Weber State, Kent State and Iowa State this weekend for the Arizona Invitational. Action begins on Friday, Aug. 29, with Weber State and Kent State playing at 5 p.m., followed by Arizona and Iowa State at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 31, Weber State and Iowa State face-off at 11 a.m., with Arizona and Kent State following at 2 p.m. All games will be played at Murphey Stadium, 15th Street and Plumer Avenue. Admission is free.

ABOUT ARIZONA: The Wildcats saw their first action against outside competition last weekend, when they played at UTEP on Saturday. The Cats fell, 3-1, but held the Miners scoreless over the final 64 minutes of the match. Freshman midfielder Erin Bevacqua scored the lone goal for the Cats.

The Wildcats not only have a new season to look forward to, but they are also receiving a new start with a complete coaching staff change during the off-season.

Head coach Dan Tobias came to Arizona in late July after after five years at the helm of the Washington State program. He was the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to a third-place finish in the conference and their second NCAA Tournament berth in three years. His assistant coaches, Lisa Oyen and Harold Warren, came from Washington State and UC Irvine, respectively.

The Wildcats return 16 letterwinners, including nine starters, from a 2002 squad that was 6-12-1 overall and 1-8-0 in Pac-10 play. They'll also see the return of two redshirt sophomores in Cassie Daniels and Heather Nelson, both of whom had to sit out last season with ACL injuries. Daniels was a starter during the 2001 season, so she will definitely be in the mix for a starting job again this year.

Lindsey Greenwood is the only senior on a roster that features 17 freshmen and sophomores. Of the 13 sophomores on this year's squad, six started the majority of matches for last year's team. Five of last season's top six scorers return this year, accounting for 61 percent of the offense on a 2002 team that obliterated many school scoring records. And, of course, all five of those players are sophomores.

ABOUT IOWA STATE: The Cyclones return 11 letterwinners, including eight starters, from a team that went 7-11-1 overall and 4-6-0 in the Big 12, finishing seventh in the league standings. Sophomore forward Kristina Baumann led Iowa State in scoring last season with seven goals and three assists (17 points). Fellow sophomore Deb Benakis was the team's third-leading scorer with four goals and two assists. Senior goalkeeper Beth Chapman saw 15 starts in 2002, tallying 71 saves, two shutouts and a 2.22 goals-against average.

Iowa State head coach Rebecca Hornbacher (Nebraska, 1997) enters her second season with the Cyclones holding a 7-11-1 record.

THE SERIES vs. IOWA STATE: Friday's matchup will mark the first-ever meeting between the Arizona and Iowa State women's soccer teams.

ABOUT KENT STATE: The Golden Flashes are coming off a 6-10-2 season, including a 3-6-0 record in Mid-American Conference action. Kent State brings back 16 letterwinners, with eight starters, from last year. The top four scorers from last season return, led by senior midfielder Lauren Covay's 17 points off seven goals and three assists. Fellow senior Lauren Caminati was a close second with 16 points (five goals, six assists). None of Kent State's active goalkeepers played last season.

Third-year head coach Rob Marinaro (Clemson, 1992) holds a 12-21-2 mark at Kent State.

THE SERIES vs. KENT STATE: The Wildcats and Golden Flashes have never before played one another.

ABOUT WEBER STATE: The Wildcats have already played a pair of exhibition games to prepare for the 2003 season. Weber State was edged by Utah Valley State, 1-0, at home last Saturday, then the Wildcats lost to Dixie State College, 2-1, at home on Monday. Senior midfielder Anna Neisen scored WSU's lone goal on Monday, unassisted off a free kick.

The Wildcats went 5-12-1 overall in 2002, including a 1-5-0 record in Big Sky play. Senior forward Kaleen Grant led Weber State in scoring last year with four goals and one assist (nine points). Junior midfielder Kacey McDonald was close behind with three goals and two assists (eight points). Junior goalkeeper Melanie Stratford saw the majority of action for the Wildcats last season, registering 67 saves, one shutout and a 1.68 GAA in 966 minutes of play.

The duo of co-head coaches Lynn Kofoed (Weber State, 1973) and Tom VudhiVadhana holds a 66-58-7 mark in seven years with the Wildcats.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: The Wildcats fell to UTEP, 3-1, in exhibition action on the road last Saturday.

The Miners scored all three of their goals in the first 26 minutes of the game, then the Wildcats shut them down for the remainder of the contest. Arizona scored its lone goal of the match in the 83rd minute, when freshman midfielder Erin Bevacqua found the back of the net on a breakaway.

The Wildcats had a 20-9 advantage in shots, including a 9-5 edge in shots on-goal. Junior forward Candice Wilks registered a game-high six shots, with two on-goal. Bevacqua finished with a total of five shots, four on-goal, while fellow freshman Lauren Winters logged four shots, with three on-goal.

The two Wildcat goalkeepers split time in the nets. Junior transfer Krystal Werges played the first 45 minutes of the match, allowing all three goals and logging two saves. Redshirt sophomore Natalie Juarez played the entire second half, facing only two shots with no saves.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats hit the road next weekend for three straight contests away from Tucson. Arizona plays in the Nike Tiger Invitational next weekend in Columbia, Mo. The Wildcats will face Arkansas in the first game on Friday, Sept. 5, at 4:30 p.m. CDT. They will take on host Missouri on the second day of action, Sunday, Sept. 7, at 1 p.m. CDT.

The following weekend, the Cats head to Flagstaff for their only action of the week. They will play at Northern Arizona on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m.

ARIZONA HEAD COACH Dan Tobias: First-year head coach Dan Tobias (Cal Poly, 1987) holds a career record of 44-45-6 over five years, all spent at the helm of the Washington State program. Tobias was the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after guiding the Cougars to a third-place finish in the conference and their second NCAA tournament appearance in three years.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: In her first season at the UA, Lisa Oyen (Montana, 1998) followed Dan Tobias from Washington State, where she was part of Tobias' coaching staff for two years.

Assistant coach Harold Warren (Cal Poly SLO, 2002) is also in his first season with the Wildcats. He came to the UA after spending the 2002 season on the women's soccer staff at UC Irvine.

ABOUT THE 2003 SCHEDULE: The Wildcats again face a tough schedule that includes eight NCAA Tournament participants and four teams that were nationally ranked at then end of 2002.

The Cats open the 2003 slate at home, playing host to Weber State, Kent State and Iowa State for the Arizona Invitational on Friday, Aug. 29 and Sunday, Aug. 31. The following weekend, the Wildcats head for Columbia, Mo., to face Arkansas and host Missouri in the Nike Tiger Invitational. They remain on the road on Sunday, Sept. 14, for a match at Northern Arizona.

Arizona will take on Kentucky (Sept. 19) and San Francisco (Sept. 21) at home before hitting the road again for three more matches. The Wildcats will play at Montana on Sept. 26, then take on UNLV the next day in a neutral contest. The road swing wraps up with a match at San Diego on Oct. 3.

The Cats begin conference action at home on Oct. 10 and 12 against Stanford and California, respectively, then they face foe Arizona State on Oct. 18 to close out a three-game homestand. The Wildcats travel to Los Angeles the next weekend to take on USC (Oct. 24) and UCLA (Oct. 26). They play their final home matches of the season against Oregon State on Oct. 31 and Oregon on Nov. 2. Regular-season play ends with road action on Nov. 7 and 9 at Washington State and Washington.

THE FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT...: The Cats should be in pretty good shape offensively for the next few years. Five of Arizona's top six scorers last season were freshmen. Out of the 106 total points that the Wildcats accumulated for the season, freshmen accounted for 84 points -- that's almost 80% of the team's total offense.

CURRENT CATS AMONG UA CAREER LEADERS: Junior forward Candice Wilks is tied for fifth on the UA career lists in gamewinning goals (2), tied for sixth in assists (5), tied for seventh in goals scored (8), tied for seventh in total shots (68) and is eighth in total points (21). Fellow junior Vanesha Bailey is tied for sixth in career assists (5) and tied for 10th in total points (17).

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Five of Arizona's 2003 opponents are either nationally ranked or received votes for ranking in this year's preseason polls. Five others are ranked or receiving votes in preseason regional rankings.

In the NSCAA Coaches Poll, Stanford is No. 4, UCLA is No. 5, California is No. 16 and USC is No. 19. Arizona State received votes for ranking.

In the Soccer America Top 25, Stanford stands at No. 2, UCLA is No. 3, Arizona State is No. 14, California is No. 16 and USC is No. 21.

In the Soccer Buzz Magazine Top 25, Stanford is holding down the No. 3 spot, UCLA is No. 7, Arizona State is No. 11, USC is No. 21 and California is No. 22.

Regionally, Missouri is ranked No. 7 in the Soccer Buzz Magazine Central Region Top 10, and Kentucky is No. 6 in the Great Lakes Region. In the West Region, Stanford is No. 2, UCLA is No. 4, Arizona State is No. 5, USC is No. 7, California is No. 8 and Washington State is tied for No. 10. San Diego and Washington both received votes for ranking in the West Region.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have a 23-33-3 record in seven seasons playing on their home field, Murphey Stadium.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats were 4-5-0 at home last season, 1-7-0 on the road and 1-0-1 in neutral games.

TWICE IS NICE: Traditionally, the Cats have fared rather well when scoring two or more goals in a match. They won five of the seven matches last season in which they scored more than one goal. Over the nine years of Wildcat soccer, the UA has a 38-21-2 record when scoring two goals or more.

CLOSE BUT...: The outcome of seven of the Wildcats' 19 games last season was decided by one goal or less. In the nine-year history of the Arizona soccer program, 68 matches have been decided by that one-goal-or-less differential.

2002 IN BRIEF: With a roster that sported a combined total of only four juniors and seniors, the very young University of Arizona women's soccer team finished the 2002 season with a 6-12-1 overall record and a 1-8-0 mark in Pac-10 play.

Of the 19 opponents that the Cats faced in 2002, 10 earned NCAA Tournament berths and four were ranked in the final NSCAA/adidas National Rankings. Conference foes UCLA and Stanford advanced to the third round and the quarterfinals, respectively, of the NCAA Tourney.

The 2002 Wildcats broke or tied 17 school records, including most goals in a season (37), most goals per game (1.94 gpg), most assists in a season (32) and most total points in a season (106).

Individually for Arizona, redshirt freshman forward Kelly Nelson obliterated many previous single-season scoring records with her 27 points on 13 goals and one assist. She led the Pac-10 in goal scoring, becoming the first Wildcat to accomplish this feat. In the process, Nelson was named the Cats' Most Valuable Player, was a second team All-Pac-10 selection and earned West Region All-Freshman Team honors from SoccerBuzz Magazine.

True freshman Lisa Kosena was second in scoring, with four goals and four assists (12 points). Fellow freshman Maggie MacCool was a close third with five goals and one assist (11 points), followed by redshirt freshman Courtney Moseley with three goals and two assists (eight points).

In the nets, true freshman goalkeeper Amanda Martin started the first nine matches of the season, registering 56 saves, two shutouts and a 1.39 goals-against average in 778 minutes of play. Redshirt freshman keeper Natalie Juarez took over as starter for the final 10 matches, tallying 70 saves and a 2.78 GAA in 971 minutes of action. Juarez finished the season tied for third in the Pac-10 in saves per game (5.00 spg) and was sixth in total saves.

Other Wildcats received post-season honors as well. Sophomore Candice Wilks was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 choice for the second year in a row. Senior defender Tymarie Novak and sophomore defender Lindsey Peeples were honorable mention Academic All-Pac-10 selections as well.

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