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UA Soccer Roundup: UA's Miller earns Pac-10 Player of the Week nod

EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA junior midfielder Mallory Miller pushes the ball upfield during a Wildcat home game this season at Murphey Stadium.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
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After scoring both the game-tying and game-winning goal to upset the No. 4 team in the country on Sunday, junior midfielder Mallory Miller earned Pacific 10 Conference player of the week honors.

Down 1-0 at the half against Washington, Miller scored 53 seconds into the second half to knot the game at one. In the 73rd minute of play, Miller struck again, heading the ball into the back of the net for the game-winning goal. The final score of Sunday's game was 3-1.

"We just got our chances, and I happened to be on the end of those ... They got their goal, but we didn't really crumble. We came out in the second half, and knew what we needed to do," Miller said after the game Sunday.

In addition to those goals, Miller also got an assist in the Washington State game on Friday, giving her eight on the season. She is now the single-season assist leader in the UA record books, and needs just one more assist this season to tie the all-time assist leader Nikki Jones, who played at the UA from 1995-1998. Miller leads the UA and the Pac-10 in assists, and is second on the team with five goals.

"It's just great and well-deserved," head coach Dan Tobias said of Miller's accomplishment. "She's done whatever our team has needed. She's performed at a very high level wherever we have put her."

Wildcats ranked for first time in program history

Whether it was beating ranked teams or being ranked themselves, the national polls have always eluded the UA soccer team in one way or another.

Sunday's 3-1 defeat of Washington marked it's first ever victory over a ranked opponent. On the heels of that win and an 11-2 start this season, Soccer America ranked the Wildcats No. 24 this week, the first time the UA soccer team has ever been ranked in a national poll. The Wildcats were 0-29-1 all-time against ranked opponents until Sunday. The lone tie came last season against ASU, on Nov. 29, 2003.

"It's a recognition of our results so far," Tobias said. It's a first for the program, and we look at them as building blocks for the future."

Soccer Buzz Magazine ranked the Wildcats last week in it's Western region poll, the team's debut in any sort of rankings. This week, the UA moved from No. 14 to No. 8 in the regional rankings, and No. 30 in their national poll.

Cats off to the best Pac-10 start ever

After one weekend of Pac-10 play, the UA continues to go where it has never gone before. Not only did it open up conference play 2-0 for the first its in their history, it also matched last season's Pac-10 wins total. No Wildcat soccer team has ever won more than two Pac-10 games in a season. Women's soccer Pac-10 play began in 1997.

It is also the first time in UA soccer history that the team has come off the first weekend with a win. In both 1997 and 2001 the Wildcats got their first conference win in the third game (the second weekend) of conference play. Arizona's 2-0 start ties it with UCLA and Southern California for first place in the current Pac-10 standings.

The win on Sunday gave the Wildcats their 11th win of the season, which means no matter how the rest of the season plays out, they will have a winning regular season for the first time in program history.

"We feel like top to bottom, we have a deeper core of player personnel. We have put the past exactly there - in the past," Tobias said.

Wildcats strong on both sides of ball

The Wildcats are also making a strong showing in comparison to the other Pac-10 statistics for the 2004 season. With 30 goals on the season, they are tied with perennial powerhouse UCLA for most goals, and lead the conference with 31 assists.

Defensively, the Wildcats' freshmen goalkeeper McCall Smith leads the conference with seven shutouts, also a UA single-season record. She is second among Pac-10 goalkeepers with 56 saves and leads the conference with a .889 save percentage.

Injury update

Both freshman midfielder Amanda Urtuzauastegui and freshman defender Kaity Heath left Sunday's game with ankle injuries. Tobias said Urtuzauastegui was still on crutches as of yesterday, but is still listed as day-to-day. Heath is no longer on crutches. Both injuries are not serious. Urtuzauastegui and Heath have played in every game this season for the Wildcats, starting 11 and 13 games respectively. Each has one goal on the season: Urtuzauastegui's coming at BYU on Sept. 23, and Heath's against UC Irvine on Sept.3 at home.

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UA Soccer Roundup: UA's Miller earns Pac-10 Player of the Week nod
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