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UA Soccer opens NCAA play today

KEVIN B. KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Senior forward Candice Wilks, named to the All-Pac-10 first team yesterday, leads the Wildcats into NCAA first-round action today.
By Brett Fera
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 12, 2004
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Tobias named Pac-10 coach of year on eve of NCAA tournament opener

Head soccer coach Dan Tobias said this week that he and his players wanted to establish a winning tradition at the UA.

Tobias managed to keep the Wildcats' winning ways of 2004 right on course yesterday, without even taking the field.

The Pacific 10 Conference announced Tobias, who took the Wildcats from near the bottom of the pack to the Pac-10 penthouse in just two seasons, as the conference's Coach of the Year award yesterday.


2004 Coach of the Year:
Dan Tobias (second year)
Candice Wilks (senior forward)
Lindsey Peeples (senior defense)
Mallory Miller (junior midfield)
honorable mention
Nikki David (junior midfield)
McCall Smith (freshman goalkeeper)

Tobias led the UA to a school-record 15 wins and a share of the program's first conference championship in his second season in Tucson, just two years after he won his first Pac-10 coach of the year award while at Washington State.

The No. 13 Wildcats (15-5, 6-3 Pac-10) try to add to this season's success when they open NCAA tournament action against Colgate today at 7 p.m. EST in Storrs, Connecticut.

With temperatures expected to hover between 30 and 40 degrees, and an 80 percent chance of precipitation, according to The Weather Channel, UA junior midfielder Mallory Miller said she and her teammates were just excited to take the field again, not worried too much about the weather. Miller was named an all-Pac-10 second team selection yesterday.

"It's actually not too bad," Miller said, adding that Tobias took the team through a workout yesterday afternoon to prepare them for game-like conditions. "We're all prepared to go."

"It's not going to be an issue," said UA freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith, who's recorded a school-record 11 shutouts this season while allowing just 10 goals all year.

Smith joined junior midfielder Nikki David by earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors, while senior defender Lindsey Peeples and senior forward Candice Wilks earned first-team All-Pac-10 accolades. Wilks was named to the conference's first team last season as well.

The Wildcats take on a Colgate team (13-6-1) making its fourth NCAA tournament appearance. The Raiders earned a selection to the round of 64 via automatic bid after winning the Patriot League tournament last weekend.

Tobias conceded that he didn't know much about Colgate upon hearing the news of the Wildcats' first-round pairing. The Raiders, led on the sidelines by 12th-year head coach Kathy Brawn, are paced on the field by freshman Franny Iacuzzi's 15 goals and five assists.

The Wildcats enter postseason play as the Pac-10's leading representative, earning the tournament's 13th seed overall. UCLA, who tied Arizona for the Pac-10 title, is seeded 14th, with Washington seeded 15th. California and Stanford also received tournament bids.

The Huskies, taking the field today against Birmingham-Southern in Auburn, Ala., and the Wildcats may have been shipped across the country for opening-round action, but UCLA was selected as one of 16 host schools for first round action. The Bruins open play against Pepperdine in Los Angeles today.

Miller, the Wildcats' leading scorer this season, said the team isn't upset about not having the opportunity to host games at Murphey Stadium, despite being seeded higher than UCLA.

"Pretty much (Tobias) just said not to worry about the seedings," she said. "We just have to go in and play our game."

Smith said Tobias told the team that in order for the Wildcats to reach the second round - Harvard (8-6-2) and host Connecticut (16-6-1), last season's NCAA runner-up - they need to not worry about the weather or heading east, just about keeping on the path that got them where they are today.

"All he's said was just to play like we've been playing and we'll be ready to go," she said."

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