Homegrown

ust looking at the roster sheet alone, the team screams youth and diversity.

Twelve of 24 players are freshmen. There are 11 different states that players call home. In fact, there's one player who hails from a different country. Take a roster this young and this diverse, throw in a first-year coach and a program in its inaugural year of intercollegiate play, and you've got a ... team?

Surprisingly, yes. Claiming five Tucsonans from local schools, the Arizona women's soccer team is banking on the success of a foundation based on a young team and a veteran coaching staff not foreign to starting from scratch.

Of those five home products, one in particular sticks out halfback Jenni Ginsberg, who attended Catalina High School and is the only freshman and starter in the lot.

"We're really a team," Ginsberg said. "Everybody gets along real well. No matter what position anybody plays everybody's real supportive of each other. When we lose, everybody still keeps good attitudes. So do the coaches. Off the field everybody's real nice. So we're friends on and off the field."

Perhaps the biggest indication that this team has truly solidified in the short time it has been together is Ginsberg's reluctance to talk about herself. But some experiences can only be discussed on a personal level, such as the quality of play in Division I.

"(Compared to high school) college is such a different level, it's so much harder," Ginsberg said. "Everybody's much faster and much stronger. You play a different game. You have to play more defense, you have to work harder, you have to run more. Practices are harder, it's more intense."

In making the transition from the Tucson sports scene to the national scope, Ginsberg gave up her old position of forward for the more physical and more defensive-oriented halfback position. Head coach Lisa Fraser explained the switch.

"Well, she's got really good speed and that's something you need at this level," Fraser said. "I think that's helped her tremendously. She's also got determination to use what she's learning, and that's a hard thing to do because a lot of it's really new to her."

A big part of the novelty of college play is travel. Where away games used to entail a bus ride across town, now they are full fledged road trips; after school contests are now weekend series'. And because most of the team's games are away the first month of the season, balancing school and sport can be tough, not to mention trying to squeeze in a social activity or two.

"Our schedule this year is all traveling," Ginsberg said. "Almost every weekend we leave on Friday and then we have practice before and after. You miss Friday classes and it's hard to keep up on your schoolwork because you don't feel like doing anything after practice.

"You pretty much associate with other athletes at tutoring, at study tables. That's pretty much the only social life that you have."

Commenting on Ginsberg's play, Fraser is optimistic about the freshman's future.

"I think Jen's taken it as a personal challenge and is going to really work hard to play women's soccer," Fraser said.

The Arizona women's soccer team dropped its fifth straight game, a 4-3 overtime loss to Southern Cal in Los Angeles Sunday.

Maggie Merritt scored first for the Trojans, just four minutes into the game. UA forward Jenn Duran scored her second goal of the season at the 35-minute mark to keep the score tied at the half.

USC came up with two goals at 47 and 52 minutes, before Ginsberg hit one in the 68th minute and Duran sent another in at 86 minutes to send the game into overtime.

In the second of two 15-minute overtime halves, the Trojans' Amy Peterson came up with the game-winner. It was her second goal of the game.

The Wildcats (1-7) also lost to UCLA Saturday, getting shut out by the Bruins, 4-0.

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