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Soccer heads to LA hoping to end futility against USC, UCLA

CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Kelly Nelson dribbles through defenders last weekend against ASU. Arizona plays USC today in Los Angeles.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 24, 2003

The Wildcat soccer team has its two most daunting tasks of the season in one weekend, as it plays Southern California this afternoon and No. 3 UCLA Sunday in Los Angeles.

"We need to have the same attitude every time we go into every game. You know - the attitude that we want it more," said sophomore midfielder Traci Adler. "I don't care if you are ranked or not. Whoever wants it more in the end - if you fight hard, you are going to win the battle."

The first battle for Arizona (4-7-2, 0-2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) is USC (6-5-4, 2-1-1) at 3 p.m. today. The Wildcats have won once and lost 8 times against the Trojans, and are winless against them since 1995. In that game, the Wildcats won 3-2 in Tucson.

USC is currently fourth in the Pac-10.

Last weekend, the Trojans played the Pac-10's Bay Area teams and came away with a 1-0 win over California and a 2-0 loss to Stanford - their only loss thus far in conference play.

No. 3 UCLA (10-1-3, 3-0-1) sits atop the Pac-10 conference standings, with the Bruins and Wildcats squaring off Sunday at 2 p.m. UCLA enjoys a seven-game unbeaten streak going into the weekend against the Arizona schools, and a perfect 9-0 record against the Wildcats.

Against the Bay Area teams last weekend, UCLA settled for a scoreless tie against Stanford and posted a narrow 1-0 win over California.

Last season, USC and UCLA teams made a trip to Tucson, and the Wildcats nearly sent both teams home with notches in the loss column.

The Wildcats scored in the 85th minute against USC last year to send the game into overtime. USC scored a little less than four minutes into the extra period, although the Trojans were one player short, after USC defender Megan Abbamonto received her second yellow card of the game.

UCLA squeaked out a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats in 2002, when Arizona held the Bruins scoreless most of the game. A penalty-kick goal in the 68th minute was the only Bruins score, although UCLA had 13 shots on goal.

The Wildcats are coming off a 1-1 double-overtime tie to rival Arizona State in which Arizona dominated in every way possible except for on the scoreboard. The Wildcats scored first, but the lead didn't last long, because the No. 24 Sun Devils scored shortly thereafter.

Despite being unable to pull out a victory, the game gave the Wildcats a lot of confidence, according to junior defender Lindsey Peeples. Peeples did say that some changes need to be made for this weekend.

"I think we should play all 90 minutes of the game. That's really key for our team," she said. "It's like, two minutes we'll fall asleep, and really, those two minutes are crucial."

"We've been playing so well, and you can tell," Adler said. "We are beating these teams, but we've got to put numbers on the board. We've got to come out with the result that we deserve to have."

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