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Soccer's storied season cut short

By From staff and wire reports
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 15, 2004
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Colgate upsets Cats 1-0 in NCAA 1st-round action

It seems only fitting that an ice-cold, snow-filled day proved most successful in slowing Tucson's hottest success story of the season.

The No. 13 UA soccer team (15-6), fresh off claiming a share of the first Pacific 10 Conference title in program history and a school-record 15-win season, fell 1-0 Friday night to Colgate (14-6-1) in opening round action of the NCAA tournament, in Storrs, Conn.

After a scramble for the ball in front of UA freshman goalkeeper McCall Smith, Colgate's Megan Bergman finally found the back of the net, giving the Raiders the lone score of the game midway through the first half.

Ice and snow blanketed the Morrone Stadium field near kickoff, but UA junior midfielder Jennifer Klein said the adverse weather conditions played no role in the outcome of the game.

"We weren't going to let the snow be a factor," Klein said. "We came into this weekend knowing that it was going to be cold and that there would be a chance for bad weather. We dealt with it and got warm clothes on and we weren't too bad, the weather wasn't a factor."

Arizona had two early chances on goal, but weren't able to put either away, missing high and wide.

The Wildcats, who entered postseason play seeded 13th out of the 64 tournament bound teams, outshot the Raiders, 12-8, in front of a crowd of just 284.

"We had a great season and we were honored to be one of the seeded teams out here. I think we were disappointed in the result and the fact that we didn't perform to our capability," said UA second-year head coach Dan Tobias, named the Pac-10's Coach of the Year for the second time in his career last week. "The credit goes to the Colgate team that just kept fighting and fighting and they got themselves a goal in the first half. Sometimes getting the first goal makes all the difference, especially in tournament play. I congratulate their players and their staff and we wish them the best in the rest of the tournament."

Tobias is one of just two coaches to earn Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors twice.

The loss puts an end the most successful season the Wildcats' 11-year history. No UA team had even won more than eight games in a season prior to this year, a feat the Wildcats bettered before conference play even began, starting the season 9-1 overall.

"Our team goal at the beginning of August was to make it to the tournament this year," Klein said. "Our focus was to take it game-by-game and that's what we did. We accomplished our goal, but our team is not satisfied. We got here, but we are not satisfied. We want more."

Arizona also defeated a ranked team for the first time, completing the feat three times to be exact in knocking off Pac-10 foes UCLA, Washington and Stanford, all ranked in the nation's top 10 at the time of the Wildcats' victories.

This season also marked the first time the Wildcats have been ranked themselves, as the team peaked at No. 10 nationally in the Soccer America poll after defeating UCLA, 1-0, in Tucson late in the season to take over the Pac-10's top spot for good.

Friday's loss marked the end of the line for UA seniors Kamaya Damwijk, Vanesha Bailey, and All-Pac-10 First Team selections Candice Wilks and Lindsey Peeples.

Wilks said her experience this season was one she won't ever forget.

"From day one here at the University of Arizona the team, in general, has had an attitude of persistence and going out there and working hard," Wilks said. "I felt like it would happen eventually, it was just a matter of time."

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