TEMPE, Ariz. – Gabi Stoian’s goal in the ninth minute of Arizona’s late afternoon match against San Diego State proved to be enough as the Wildcats came away victorious by a score of 1-0 at the Sun Devil Classic. Arizona now has a record of 4-0, which is tied for the best start in school history.
“Our girls are working extremely hard,” head coach Tony Amato said. “We are preaching that you have to put the work in to get results and that winning is hard. That team we played tonight is very good. We defended well to get the shutout and Gabi is a very good player and was able to win us the game.”
The Aztecs started attacking from the get go with a dangerous cross into the goal box in just the third minute, but goalkeeper Lainey Burdett was able to punch it to safety.
Arizona responded in the eighth minute after a Jaden DeGracie flip throw in found the head of Hayley Estopare, but the ball barely sailed over the crossbar.
The Wildcats struck gold just one minute later. After Hannah Wong intercepted a San Diego State pass in the middle of the pitch, she took off and found a wide open Stoian running down the left side of the field. She was on a breakaway and the keeper came off her line, but she was able to place it past her and gave Arizona a 1-0 lead.
Stoian now has four goals on the season and 17 for her career. She is now tied for sixth on the all-time Arizona scoring list and is also tied for the fifth-most career points of any Wildcat with 43.
Both teams had their fair share of possession and shots for the rest of the half, but neither team developed much of a scoring chance.
In the 57th minute, San Diego State had a free kick from about 25 yards away. The ball was a dangerous one, but Burdett was able to get a fist to it. The ball went straight up in the air and found an Aztec player and she ripped a shot, but the ball sailed over the crossbar again.
Three minutes later, the Aztecs created some space in front of the goal after some impressive passing, but Burdett made a miraculous save and kept the door shut.
The last 15 minutes of the match featured a plethora of defenders for Arizona as they were hanging on to the 1-0 victory. San Diego State took one more shot in the 87th minute, but nothing came of it and Arizona earned the hard fought victory.
Arizona is back in action on Sunday, Sept. 6 as they take on Stephen F. Austin in Tempe, Ariz. at 11 a.m. MST.
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