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Soccer coach returns to roots

MALLORY LORING/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Soccer head coach Dan Tobias returns to Washington State this weekend.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 7, 2003

Tobias leads UA against former team at Wazzu

UA women's soccer head coach Dan Tobias will not be here for the Homecoming festivities this weekend - but he will be having his own homecoming of sorts.

His Wildcat squad (5-10-2, 1-5-1 Pacific 10 Conference) is in the Pacific Northwest to face Washington State (6-9-2, 2-3-2) - a team he knows extremely well - at 3 p.m. today. He recruited every player currently on the Cougar squad.

Tobias spent five seasons in Pullman as the women's head soccer coach before coming to Arizona in June to replace Cathy Klein, who resigned after three years at the UA helm. Tobias accumulated an overall record of 44-45-6 at WSU.

"It will be emotional; I have only fond memories of my five years there," Tobias said. "I have a lot of respect for the student-athletes, staff and administration. I'm not sure how I'll feel about it until I'm in it."

The first-year UA coach is anxious to head back to his old stomping grounds.

"I am looking forward to it," Tobias said. "My former assistant (Matt Potter) is the head coach now, and I will get to see him. The advantage of being a college coach is getting to go back and see these people you care about quite a bit."

Tobias knows this team well, but he doesn't think that gives him much of an advantage going into Pullman.

"I firmly believe there are no easy games in the Pac-10," he said. "Coach Potter has them playing quite well."

WSU is coming off an impressive weekend in the Bay Area after battling to a scoreless tie against California and beating a tough Stanford team, 1-0. The Cougars are 6-1-1 all-time against the Wildcats, including a 4-2 victory in Tucson last season.

The weekend will not get any easier for the Wildcats as they face No. 13 Washington (10-5-3, 3-3-1) on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Huskies' dangerous leading scorer, Tina Frimpong, has scored 12 or her team's 32 goals this season - three times more than UW's next best scorer.

"(The Huskies) are very well coached," Tobias said. "Their coach (Lesle Gallimore) has been not just one of the top coaches in the Pac-10, but the country. They are very well organized and very tight defensively."

Last season at Murphey Stadium, the Wildcats upset the then-No. 20 Huskies. Sophomore forward Kelly Nelson put away the game-winning goal midway through the second overtime period, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 victory, their first ever against the Huskies. Washington leads the all-time series, 7-1.

Hoping to add the extra kick the Wildcats need this weekend is junior forward Candice Wilks, who has been out with a foot injury that she suffered in practice. The injury caused her to miss both the Oregon and Oregon State games.

Wilks is listed as day-to-day, according to Tobias, who is hoping she will be cleared to play in Arizona's final games of the season this weekend. He said it would likely be a game-time decision.

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