By Amanda Branam
CHRIS CODUTO/ARIZONA DAILY WILDCAT
UA senior defender Lindsey Peeples breaks away from a defender during a home win at Murphey Stadium earier this season. Peeples leads the Wildcats into action tonight against Northern Arizona at home.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 17, 2004
Northern Arizona visits Tucson to battle 5-1 Cats
The UA soccer team will look to keep its perfect record against NAU intact in the Wildcats' third home game of the season, tonight at 7 at Murphy Stadium.
"It will be a good game. It's an in-state rivalry, and that always brings more to the game than anything else," said UA junior midfielder Jennifer Klein. "In any in-state rivalry, you want to be the 'in-state champions.'"
Northern Arizona comes to Tucson with a 3-2-1 record so far this year. The Lumberjacks return nine starters from 2003, including all four defensive positions and junior goalkeeper Andrea Berra. The Lumberjacks finished third in the Big Sky Conference tournament, the highest finish in the program's history.
The teams last met Sept. 14, 2003, with UA coming out on top, 2-1. The Wildcats have won all four meetings against the Lumberjacks.
The teams may have faced each other last season, but some players played with or against each other long before they chose their colleges. Klein, a Prescott native, said that she knows some players on NAU's team from club soccer, some from high school soccer, and she also played with a few of them over the summer for Arizona Heat Wave, a semi-professional league.
NAU also has three players who played their high school soccer in Tucson: sophomore defender Christina Loyash (Flowing Wells), freshman midfielder Tai Powers (Catalina Foothills), and senior goalkeeper Annie Turner (Sabino/Pima).
"Whenever you play against someone you know, it makes the game much more exciting, fun and competitive," Klein said.
Defensively, the Lumberjacks have given up just three goals in their five games this season, the same number as Arizona. NAU also has four shutouts, like the Wildcats, but one of those shutouts came in a 0-0 tie against Utah Valley State.
The young Wildcat defense gave up its first goals of the season in its most recent road trip, falling to No. 13 West Virginia, 2-0, before defeating Duquesne 4-1 last weekend.
Before giving up those goals, the Wildcats put together four consecutive shutouts to open the season. Freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith, who has been in goal for all four of those shutouts, is not concerned with a goal-scoring trend.
"We gave them the goals. Easy balls we could have gotten out, we didn't. They capitalized on our mistakes. But they are easy mistakes that are totally fixable. We're not worried about that at all," she said.
Offensively, NAU's top scorer is freshman Dani Davis with two goals. Davis has played in all five of the Lumberjacks' games this season, but she has not started in any of them. She also has taken the most shots on the team with 16.
The Wildcat offense is averaging 19.7 shots per game, and the defense is holding its opponents to just 9.2 shots per game. Junior midfielder/forward Mallory Miller leads the team with 11 points (three goals, five assists), while senior forward Kamaya Damwijk leads Arizona with four goals.