Sanford starts the season sizzling
The UA women's soccer team knew she was good, but few people thought junior forward Chrissy Sanford would make such an immediate impact.
The Wildcats owe a great deal of their early season success to Sanford's superior offensive play.
"She's exciting to be around," said UA assistant coach Bruce Caris, "She has shown she can finish."
With four goals and one assist in just three games for the Wildcats, Sanford already ranks No. 10 in school history for total points and is tied for eighth place in career goals.
"I have been successful in the last couple of years, putting the ball in the net," Sanford said. "I will do anything to get the ball in the net."
Scoring goals in large quantities for Sanford is becoming quite routine. Last season with Ventura Junior College, Sanford was the national junior college leader in both scoring (41 goals) and total points (91), while leading her team to a 22-2-3 mark.
After being named second team Junior College All-American, Sanford decided to take her skills to the UA.
"What most interested me (about UA) was just how the whole athletics are kept together," Sanford said. "The support that you get academically is unbelievable here and that was really what made the school weigh a little more."
Sanford chose UA over the likes of University of Southern California, University of San Francisco, University of California-Northridge and University of California-Irvine.
What has impressed Sanford the most since her arrival in Tucson, has been her teammates.
"Overall, it's just their heart, everyone on the team has a tremendous amount of heart, they want to win," Sanford said. "In our very first scrimmage we had people who were slide-tackling each other, people were battling each other, everyone was just going out like we were in a game."
Sanford's teammates are also quick to praise her abilities on the field as a player and her work ethic off of it.
"We are lucky to have her," sophomore midfielder Marisa Padula said. "Chrissy is a 100 percent hustler, she works hard and is an amazing goal scorer - just a great person."
The coaching staff has been elated with the addition Sanford has made to the team.
"She has fit right in, she seems to have a pretty good personality," Caris said. "She jokes a lot, which shows me she is comfortable with the team."
Sanford said the support of the coaching staff has been a big boost to her and the team this year.
"I appreciate their confidence in me and they see in us the heart that we have," she said. "They really believe in us, and that's what we need; we need that support from the coaches."
Since the Wildcats are off to a 2-1-0 start, Sanford wants the team to keep playing with the intensity and fire they have shown so far.
"I want every game to be a battle for us, I want us to play with the heart I know we have," Sanford said. "Unlike ASU, I don't ever want us to have another game like that again."
Heart is not something that you question when speaking of Sanford. Watching her play, you can see the sheer determination in her face and her will to succeed.
"Every game I just go 100 percent for my teammates, be a team player and just step up when I need to," Sanford said of her role on the team.
Besides praising her teammates and coaching staff, Sanford holds the faithful UA soccer fans in very high esteem.
"It's unbelievable. I heard people calling my name and I didn't even know them," Sanford said. "They are just amazing, they really pump you up. There are times when I would really be more passive but the crowd is there screaming and yelling, so I will slide-tackle or take the girl out. They just pump you up."
Sanford and the Wildcats' heart will be on display in Provo, Utah Saturday and Monday, as the Wildcats take on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Brigham Young University.