By Amanda Branam
Josh Fields/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sophomore defender Claire Bodiya battles for control of the ball against a Washington defender as senior forward Kelly Nelson looks on. The Wildcats face Cal tonight.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 21, 2005
The Arizona soccer team returns home for its most difficult Pacific 10 Conference weekend yet this season, facing No. 10 California tonight at 7 and No. 25 Stanford Sunday at 1 p.m. at Murphey Stadium.
"At this point in the season, it's the second half of conference play," said Wildcat head coach Dan Tobias. "The good thing about our group is we're motivated, we're playing good soccer, we've been shutting teams down and, like we've been doing all season, we're creating good chances."
The Golden Bears (10-2-1, 3-0 Pac-10) boast one of the toughest defenses in the conference, anchored by senior goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio, the latest Pac-10 Player of the Week. Sulprizio notched six saves against Stanford in a 2-0 win Saturday.
Cal has yet to allow a goal in their three Pac-10 games this season and have allowed just five in 13 games. Of those five goals, only Santa Clara scored more than one, a feat accomplished in its 2-1 win over the Golden Bears on Sept. 18.
"I think our biggest thing is keeping the ball - work to keep the ball and just not be too impatient to go to goal," said senior midfielder Jennifer Klein. "Just kind of build off of our offense and, once something opens up, take advantage and stick our chances."
Cal vs Arizona
No. 10 Cal at Arizona
7 p.m. Today
Stanford vs Arizona
No. 25 Stanford at Arizona
1 p.m. Sunday
The Wildcats (8-4-2, 3-1-0) will be without head coach Dan Tobias on the sideline, as he will be serving a one-game suspension for arguing with the referees after a last-second penalty was called against Arizona in its matchup with Washington State on Sunday.
The ensuing penalty kick tied the game at 1-1 to force overtime, and the Cougars scored in the second extra period to give the Wildcats their first conference loss of the season.
This is the second game this season Tobias will sit out because of a one-game suspension from a red card ejection.
He was removed from Arizona's contest with Utah on Sept. 16 for arguing a referee's call, and watched the team's game against New Mexico two days later from the Murphey Stadium bleachers.
For Klein, one of four team captains, getting past the emotion and frustration of the Washington State game is important to the team's success this weekend against the Bay Area teams.
"What's good is we're almost using (the loss) as a fuel, something that is going to drive us to be like, 'We're never going to put ourselves in a situation like that (again),'" she said. "We're going to make sure we have two goals at the end of the game when the last second comes."
The Cardinal (8-4-1, 2-1) will be looking to avenge a last-minute loss suffered to the Wildcats on Oct. 15, 2004, in Palo Alto, Calif., when then-junior midfielder Nikki David scored in double overtime to give the Wildcats a 1-0 victory. At the time, the Wildcats were No. 24 in the nation, and Stanford was No. 10.
The Cardinals are a young team this season, but still talented enough to beat No. 5 Santa Clara, a perennial national powerhouse in soccer, 1-0 on Sept. 30. Junior midfielder-defender Rachel Buehler scored the game's lone goal.