By Steve Fanucchi
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona women's soccer team has lost its past three games, and ending the slide will not be easy as the Wildcats face No. 17 Oregon State today at Pima Community College West's Aztec Field.
Arizona and OSU will play each other for the first time at 2:30 p.m. The Wildcats are in their second season as a Division I program.
Arizona (3-4 overall, 0-3 in the Pacific 10 Conference) is in last place in the Pac-10, while the Beavers (7-2, 1-0) are in second place.
Oregon State last played in the Umbro Invitational, beating Gonzaga 5-0 and losing to UC-Irvine 2-0, while Arizona comes off two losses against the Washington schools. The Beavers started the season by winning their first five games, including two against ranked teams.
The Wildcats also started quick, winning three of their first four games. But since taking on its first Pac-10 opponent, UCLA, Sept. 16, Arizona has gone downhill, losing the last three games, all in the conference.
"There are not going to be any easy games in this conference," UA head coach Lisa Fraser said. "We need to bounce back and get a win."
Individually, the bright spots continue to show for the Wildcats, as freshman forward Nicki Jones leads the team in with five goals. Last season's top goal scorer, forward Jen Duran, had seven. Senior captain Christine Keeley has been tough on the opponents' goal, leading the team with 21 shots on goal.
UA goalkeeper Jen Weibel has amassed 44 saves through seven games this year, giving up 15 goals for a .478 save percentage.
Leading the way for the Beavers is forward Val Williams, an All-America candidate who was held scoreless for only the fourth time in her career last week against Irvine. Williams leads Oregon State with eight goals and three assists in nine games.
"They have good players and this will be a good matchup for us," Fraser said.
The Wildcats have eight players who have started all of the team's seven games so far. They include Keeley, Jones, Duran, Kelly Keve, Jennifer Rickard, Kristy Walsh, Jillian Bressler and goalkeeper Weibel.
Senior forward Shannon Taylor will miss the rest of the season after suffering sprained ligaments in her right knee in the loss to the Bruins. Sophomore Jennifer Ginsberg will replace Taylor at the forward position temporarily.
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