Arizona Wins Season Opener 4-0

Arizona Wins Season Opener 4-0

TUCSON, Ariz. – It was a shot parade for Arizona as they fired 22 total shots and cruised to a 4-0 victory against Abilene Christian. The Arizona defense was stifling as they only allowed two shots, none on goal all night from Abilene Christian.

“The biggest thing is that once we started defending and pressing, we made it difficult for them to play out,” head coach Tony Amato said. “That led to set pieces, corners and long throws, and a lot of chances came from those. That made a big difference in the game, especially in the second half.”

It was a relatively balanced first 15 minutes possession wise, until Arizona broke through with a set piece goal. Cali Crisler got her head on it right in front of the goal off a pass from sophomore Gabi Stoian and scored the first goal of the season, putting Arizona up 1-0.

In the 28th minute, Jessica Nelson entered the game and made an instant impact for Arizona with her flip throw ins. Her first one found the head of Charlotte Brascia, but the ball barely sailed over the crossbar.

With just minutes to go in the first half, Paige Crouch’s flip throw found Nelson in the box who was able to get a good touch on it. She tried to chip it over Abilene Christian keeper Kelsey Dombrowski, but she was able to make a top notch save to keep the score 1-0 Arizona as the two teams went to the locker rooms for halftime.

Once the whistle for the second half blew, Arizona turned it up a notch. In the 51st minute, Hannah Wong took a shot from a difficult angle near the goal line and the ball crawled across the goal line and did not find the back of the net. Just one minute later, Stoian received a brilliant pass from Wong and she finished it clinically making the score 2-0 Arizona.

In the 63rd minute, Stoian received the ball at the top of the box and was able to get free with a flurry of moves and placed it into the back of the net for her second goal of the night and extended Arizona’s lead to 3-0. Her brace gives her 15 career goals, which moves her in a tie for eighth place in the Arizona record book for career goals alongside former Wildcat Alexandra Doller.

“A lot of it comes from my teammates,” Stoian said. “We all worked hard, especially in the back. We pull up to the midfield which is the only way that it can get to us in the front. The forwards were doing well combining with me.”

In the 75th minute, Nelson’s flip throw in found Hayley Estopare in the box and she was able to collect the ball and fire it into the cage for her fourth career goal and gave Arizona a 4-0 lead.

A memorable moment occurred for Karina Gabino as she entered the game for Arizona in the 83rd minute after recovering from back-to-back ACL surgeries and was able to play the final seven minutes of the game.