By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 20, 2004
It took a while for the Arizona soccer team to get going against Northern Arizona (2-3-1), but once it did, the Wildcats had little difficulty in getting their sixth win of the season, a 4-0 victory over the Lumberjacks to tie their entire win total from 2003.
Sluggish play from both sides dominated the first 15 minutes of the game, with neither team keeping possession of the ball for more than a pass or two. The Wildcats (6-1) still managed to create a few scoring opportunities in the opening 15 minutes but were unable to convert more than once.
"The first half, we didn't play bad, it was just slow," said junior midfielder Nikki David. "We were just trying to find our rhythm, and luckily we scored and had the lead going into the second half."
That first-half goal came from senior forward Candice Wilks after NAU goalkeeper Andrea Berra was unable to handle a hard shot by freshman midfielder Nicole Scheid. It bounced off of Berra's chest when she dove for the ball, and Wilks easily put in the rebound in the 23rd minute.
The goal was the third of the season for Wilks, giving her 19 for her college career. She now stands alone as second on the all-time goals list for the UA, after being tied with Christine Keeley (1995-1996). Wilks would need to score six more goals this season to tie career-goals leader Nikki Jones (1995-1998) at 25.
The rest of the first half passed without a goal for the UA, and they took just six shots in the entire half. Defensively, the Wildcats held NAU to just two shots. Second-year head coach Dan Tobias was much more pleased with his team's effort in the second half.
"We finished a goal in the first half; that was a definite positive. We just didn't have a sharp first half," he said. "We obviously had a sharper second-half in all areas of the game. That just made such a huge difference. The biggest thing is, especially in the second half, we had such better shape defensively, organized earlier and we just won more balls."
David saw the difference between the two halves as a simple one.
"The second half we just came out ready to play. We knew what needed to be done, and we did it. And it paid off."
In the 64th minute, David scored after junior forward Mallory Miller centered the ball only a couple of yards out from the goal. Senior forward Jennifer Klein also got credit for an assist for her pass to Miller to begin the scoring play.
David struck again less than a minute later, almost from the same spot as her first goal. A hard-struck center by Klein flew high in the air and past goalkeeper Berra and Miller, who tried to head the ball. A Lumberjack defender was standing on the back line to clear the ball, but was met by a charging David, who won the ball and scored easily with no goalie in the net.
The last goal came in the 76th minute after a well-placed center by Miller, which went directly to freshman midfielder Sarah Litt. Litt, who had been only been in the game for about a minute, calmly settled the ball and put it past Berra for UA's fourth and final goal of the night. It was the second assist of the game for Miller, who now has seven on the season.
It was the first goal of the season for Litt, and the second and third goals of the season for David. In the seven games played so far this season, nine different Wildcats have at least one goal on the season, compared to seven players all of last season.
"We know we have a good team, and last year we had a good team, we just didn't capitalize. This year we are just capitalizing, and it's just an awesome feeling," said David.
UA freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith was not called upon much in this game, but came away with her fifth shutout in seven games after making two saves.