By Steve Fanucchi
Arizona Daily Wildcat
With two consecutive victories under its belt, the Arizona women's soccer team hopes to take some momentum into the second annual Lanzera Classic in San Diego this weekend.
The Wildcats will take on the San Diego State Aztecs (7-5-1), the tournament hosts, today at 3 p.m. and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (8-1-1) Saturday at 11 a.m.
Arizona (5-5 overall, 1-4 in the Pacific 10 Conference) will try to get back to a winning record in the tournament, but it will not be easy. Cal Poly, which is coming off a 3-0 win over Washington State, has a six-game winning streak. Mustang coach Alex Crozier is in his third year and has a career record of 48-15-6. The Wildcats have never faced the Mustangs and are 0-1 against San Diego State.
Arizona went 2-1 over a short three-game homestand last week, producing the first back-to-back home wins in school history. The Wildcats continue to show signs of improvement from their inaugural 1994 season, when they won just two of their first 10 games. Last Thursday, Arizona erased a 2-0 deficit to post its first comeback win of the year, beating Southern Cal 3-2.
"Our two wins against those teams we beat last week gave us much more confidence than we had," freshman forward Nicki Jones said. "We are looking forward to getting past the .500 mark again. That is one of our big goals."
"Against USC, we proved we could come from behind, and mentally that was a big boost for us," head coach Lisa Fraser said.
One reason for the team's increasing success is junior redshirt Christine Keeley, who leads the team in every offensive category with 36 shots on goal, seven goals, two assists and three game-winning goals. Jones, who plays next to Keeley on the front line, is second in goals with five and tied for third with midfielder Kelly Keve in shots on goal with 14.
"She (Keeley) has been playing great lately, but she has been playing that way all year," Jones said. "When she shows that mentality on the field then we respond the same way."
Arizona may get its toughest test yet this season on Saturday. Mustang goalkeeper Kristina Grigaitis holds all five major career records for Cal Poly, including 18 shutouts in two seasons. Grigaitis has given up just seven goals in 35 shots on goal this year for a 0.91 goal-against average.
The Mustangs' Gina Oceguera, a freshman, leads the team in shots on goal and goals scored. Oceguera has scored seven times in 30 attempts. 1993 All-American Wendy Jones has created pressure up front for Cal Poly, scoring two times in 22 shots while assisting four goals.
"We are going to be facing two tough teams this weekend," Fraser said. "Cal Poly is a team on the rise and is playing really well right now. SDSU is a bit up and down now. But anytime I have ever played them it has been a tough game."
The Aztecs are coming off two consecutive home wins over Western Athletic Conference opponents. SDSU began with a shutout of Brigham Young 2-0, its sixth shutout of the year, then defeated Fresno State 4-1. Senior midfielder Lynn Murray was named WAC player of the week for the second week in a row.
Arizona will return home Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. to take on Pepperdine.
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