After a tough 2-1 loss on Friday night to Grand Canyon, the Vandals finished out their nonconference schedule Sunday in Tuscon, Arizona, in a losing effort to Arizona. The Wildcats shut out the Vandals to the tune of a 3-0 decision.
“We knew going into the game that Arizona is very athletic and a very hard working team that puts a ton of pressure on their opponents in the first 10-15 minutes of each half,” Idaho coach Derek Pittman said.The Wildcats struck first in the seventh minute when senior forward Alexandra Doller snuck one by sophomore goal keeper Torell Stewart, who turned in an impressive performance despite the loss with eight saves on the day.
The Doller goal was set up by a free kick that Doller headed into the top of the net to give Arizona the early lead.
After the early goal, the Vandal defense tightened up substantially as it held the Wildcats scoreless for the final 39 minutes of the half. Unfortunately for Idaho, this success didn’t continue after the half as Doller hit another header in the 54th minute.
“They are very good at what they do and punished us in both halves,” Pittman said.
Kaitlyn Lopez, a junior forward, all but ended the game a few minutes later off a Doller pass that Lopez fired past Stewart.
“The discipline on defense allowed us to create some quality chances on the attack,” Pittman said. “We have to start finishing these chances to help take some pressure off our defending side of the ball. Overall, we put in another good performance that will give us confidence as we now focus on Big Sky play.”
As a team, the Vandals were outshot 35-7, including an 11-4 breakdown on goal. Doller led all players with six total shots, with four being on goal — including the first two scores of the game. For Idaho, sophomore forward Kavita Battan led the team with two shots. Olivia Baggerly, Elexis Schlossarek, Gabby Leong, Bethany Leliefeld and Reagan Quigley also recorded shots.
“We prepared for their attack, but unfortunately we weren’t able to stop them,” Pittman said. “Other than those 10 minutes to start each half, we played well and defended well.”
Despite the loss, Stewart outperformed the opposing goal keeper in the saves category as Arizona’s senior goal keeper Gabby Kaufman only managed four saves to Stewart’s eight. After a rocky start to the season, Stewart appears to have gotten back into her grove. She has recorded 37 saves in the last five games.