For the second week in a row, Arizona football will be tested by a ranked enemy.
The Wildcats (2-2) return to Mulcahy Stadium this week to host No. 21 Texas Tech (5-0-1) and Nebraska (4-2) Thursday and Sunday as part of the annual Wildcat Classic.
Always one of the best teams in the West, Texas Tech owns a 14-2 goal spread this season, even though all six opponents were senior.
“Technology is a super strong team,” the UA head coach said Becca Moros. “From watching movies and different things, they are obviously a well-trained, safe, dynamic and athletic top team, and that’s what we need. We need to be able to bring together the best of what we do against the best of what other teams can bring, and I think technology will be a huge challenge for us and a great opportunity to see how far we’ve come in the process. and on the journey that we are in the middle of a kind, so to speak. “
The Wildcats are diverted to Tempe, where the LSU No. 17 2-0 handled them Thursday before recovering with a 3-2 win over Cal State Northridge on Sunday.
If we look back, Moros is not surprised at how these games were played.
“LSU is a very experienced team … while we are very young,” he said. “So you could see that kind of consistency in the way we played, the comfort in the ball, and they took advantage of some areas where we were weak in the game.”
Although it was a tough afternoon, playing at LSU, which climbed to No. 7 in the last coaching poll, could help the Wildcats in the long run.
“I think a lot of what we need to do is not just improve what we need to improve, but improve our ability to do it under ever-increasing pressure situations against ever-better teams,” Moros said.
“I think LSU gave us the opportunity to feel this challenge from a very high-level, high-performing athletic team in the country. I think it was really fantastic for us. And then, Cal State Northridge, we we were able to put together a lot more than we wanted to work and improve.We were able to put pressure on them above the field, we were able to do more in terms of our construction, which is what we fought against LSU, similar to [Utah Valley].
“Part of that is because we keep working on it, and part of it is just the different styles of teams and the opportunities that came up in the game, so I think we responded really well. We’d like to see more consistency. Certainly , we don’t like to see defensive breakdowns, but these are opportunities to talk about how we defend these kinds of situations, so when they come up again, because they will, we will respond the way we need to to prevent teams from getting goals against us. “.
After examining the film, senior striker Jill Aguilera he said the Wildcats line was playing too deep against LSU and the Tigers were able to exploit the extra space.
“We made a big point to make sure we didn’t do it against Northridge and use our good combination of passes that we didn’t do so much in the LSU game,” he said.
Aguilera scored two goals against CSUN, giving him 26 for his career, the third most in Arizona football history. She is more proud of her progression as a player than of her place on the scoreboard. Aguilera missed his freshman season with a torn ACL and only scored six goals in 2017 and 2018 before exploding for 19 in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
“I think it’s because of my confidence,” he said. “The first year or two I played, it took me a while to be sure of the ball. I was just more afraid of making a mistake than doing it right. And that obviously didn’t really help me. Back then, 2019 was my boom season or whatever, and I think that was really attributed to my hard work in the spring to the summer, and to relying more on my skills, relying on the team that surrounded me and be where I was. I was supposed to follow and follow the game plan ”.
This season, that means playing a central role in the Arizona attack.
“I’m definitely more involved in game accumulation, which is a little new to me, but Becca is very helpful to me,” Aguilera said. “I can go to her with any questions she has. And she is very good at answering them and helping me through the video ”.
The Wildcats were missing several players due to injury to Tempe, including the starting midfielder Iliana Hocking, titular defender Ava McCray, and key reservations like Iyana Zimmerman, Jasmine Young i Sarah Rice.
Moors expects at least two of them to return this week, but I wouldn’t say who. With so many players out of the game, the Wildcats have had to rely heavily on their subclassists, which has yielded mixed results.
“The players have responded very well to playing various positions, so I haven’t had any issues with their ability to do that,” Moros said. “But in terms of group longevity and being able to compete for much of the year, this is where we struggle a bit in the depth charts and we can play the right players in the right roles for the right minutes.”
A new student section
There is a new section of students at Mulcahy Stadium: a small set of bleachers posted behind the south goal. Moors said assistant coach Brian Periman | the idea occurred to him.
“The thought process is that we want to have fans wherever we are trying to score goals,” Moros said. “But Brian was also a goalkeeper, so he knows what the other team’s goalkeeper can do when you have a very strong animation section for strikers who sink you.”
The first students to be part of the new section were the UA men’s basketball team:
! Want a front row seat to home match action ⁉️
We have a new student section in Mulcahy located in the field behind the goal of our opponents.
– Arizona Soccer (@ArizonaSoccer) September 6, 2021
Paul Great recommended Periman
Periman has been credited with many other things this season, including some I hope Hiseybig savings, scouting reports, Arizona scores on set pieces and block A painted in the center circle.
Moros said the former AU assistant Paul Nagy—That he used to train the bottom line and the goalkeepers below Tony Amato“I recommended Periman, a native of Tucson.” Moors said Hisey gave him Nagy’s phone number.
“The team is very close to Paul,” Moros said. “Many of them were recruited by Paul, even the girls who are new this year. Many of them were recruited by Paul, so it still has a very big impact on the program in the sense that these players they are largely players who recruited, who had relationships, who determined that they were good people, good competitors.be good for the culture here and I have to thank them very much because the team has been excellent and is a “Great people. I like going to work every day to work with them. Paul was a huge part of it.”
Nagy is married to the UA softball head coach Caitlin Lowe, so he still has a stake in Arizona Athletics even though he officially left the football program after the 2019 season.
“It came out in our NAU game, so I think there will be some,” Moros said. “The girls were very excited to see him.”
How to watch the action this weekend …
- Thursday Vs. núm. 21 Texas Tech – 7 p.m. PST, Pac-12 network
- Sunday against Nebraska: 1 p.m. PST, Pac-12 network