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Soccer notes: Cats face another top-5 foe

Claire C. Laurence/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Freshman forward Gianna DeSaverio (20) goes for a header against New Mexico during Arizona's 1-1 tie on Sunday. The No. 22 Wildcats travel to Oregon and play No. 3 Portland tomorrow, where a win would represent the highest-ranked opponent defeated in team history.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 22, 2005
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Team gunning for road upset of No. 3 Portland

If the No. 22 Arizona soccer team defeats No. 3 Portland tomorrow in Oregon, it would be the highest-ranked opponent the Wildcats have ever defeated.

The Wildcats did well against top-five teams last year, albeit at home. On Oct. 10, Arizona defeated No. 4 Washington 3-1. Three weeks later, Arizona beat No. 5 UCLA for the first time in school history.

Tomorrow's matchup with the Pilots also pits two of the top soccer conferences in the country against each other.

Portland plays in the West Coast Conference, which, like the Pacific 10 Conference, has three teams in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25 poll.

The WCC has Portland, No. 5 Santa Clara and No. 11 Pepperdine, which defeated the Wildcats 3-1 on Aug. 28 for their only loss this season. UCLA is No. 4 this week, and California shares the No. 9 spot with Boston College.

The only conference with more teams in the poll is the Atlantic Coast Conference, with six teams.

"We're excited to play in their hometown and their stadium and just show what we have to bring and what the Pac-10 is all about," said redshirt senior forward and co-captain Kelly Nelson. "I think it will be a good way to make a statement."

On Sunday, Arizona will hold a youth day at Murphey Stadium before their match against UC-Santa Barbara.

Arizona and many other states across the country are hosting similar events in September to celebrate Youth Soccer Month.

The festivities begin at 5 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., there will be an autograph session with the entire Arizona soccer team, followed by the kickoff against UCSB at 7 p.m.

Jones nears return to action

Senior midfielder Althea Jones is in the final stretch of her rehab for a torn left anterior cruciate ligament she suffered in spring practice and is nearing a return to the field.

"She's not cleared for this weekend," said Arizona head coach Dan Tobias. "It's kind of a week-to-week thing. She's doing very well."

Redshirt sophomore forward Sally Thurner had successful knee surgery last week and will be out for the season because of the rehab. Thurner tore her left ACL in practice Sept 1.

Sophomore defender Kaity Heath and freshman forward Gianna DeSaverio did not practice yesterday because of injuries, but Tobias said he is hoping they will be healthy enough to travel and play Friday night.

Cats stay put in national rankings

Arizona held steady this week in the national polls, staying at the No. 22 spot in the NSCAA poll after a 1-0-1 weekend in the Four Points University Plaza Arizona Soccer Classic.

The Wildcats (4-1-2) round out the list of Pac-10 schools ranked this week in the NSCAA poll.

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