UA women's soccer experiences growing pains

By Monty Phan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

As the saying goes, things can only get better.

The Arizona women's soccer team, in its first year of intercollegiate play, is currently mired in a five-game losing streak after dropping two more in Los Angeles over the weekend. Sunday's loss was a 4-3 overtime downer to UCLA, the Wildcats' first overtime game of the season.

Any number of factors could be blamed for the team's 1-7 record. The obvious would be the jump in skill level from club sport to intercollegiate status. Many of Arizona's opponents have been established teams.

Youth is also a factor, as half the team is comprised of freshmen. This bodes well for future Wildcat teams, however, as the members learn to play alongside each other and against other teams. The payoff will come when the opposition has to prepare for 12 seniors instead of 12 freshmen.

"Everybody still is a team, nobody's getting down on each other, nobody's blaming each other for losses," halfback Jenni Ginsberg said. "It's just a lot of things are new concepts. It'll just make us better next year, we know what we're going to be up against and we know what we need to practice. We know what we'll need to practice for next year."

From the "You Better Eat Your Wheaties" Department:

In the eight games they've played, the Wildcats have been outscored 25-5. But a closer look at the score by halves tells a different story.

Arizona has a total halftime score of 5-5. They have either led or been tied at halftime in six of the eight contests, and the other two the scores were both 1-0 at halftime. In the second half, however, the opposition has held a whopping 19-3 advantage over the Wildcats. The finger points accusingly at fatigue.

"I think I expected us to do better," Coach Lisa Fraser said. "But playing on the field they've learned a lot. Now it's just a matter of using it for ninety minutes."

Said Ginsberg: "We're growing, we need to work on our second half, because we're always winning or tied at halftime so we need to keep up our intensity. We are taking our losses, not proudly, but we're taking our losses well."

A bright spot this weekend was junior forward Jenn Duran's two goals against the Trojans Sunday, bringing her total to three on the season. Together with junior forward Shannon Taylor, the two have combined to form a legitimate offensive threat, totalling five goals and three assists between them.

Unfortunately, offense is not the team's primary concern, Fraser said.

"We've had to step back and go back to defense because that's obviously where we're weak," Fraser said. "That's just an area where players are not coached in outside of college, and that's an area that we're weak at. That's unfortunate because I think it's hurt us, because we've played some good soccer. We just haven't been consistent defensively."

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