Coach Amato was right. The rust just needed to be knocked off.
Gabi Stoian scored her first goal since returning from injury and Kennedy Kieneker tallied her first goal of the season as the Arizona Wildcats beat the Oregon State Beavers 2-0 on Friday night in chilly Corvallis, Ore.
Stoian, now five goals shy of breaking the UA’s all-time scoring record, hadn’t found the back of the net since Sept. 3 as she’s battled a quad injury, which she suffered Sept. 10.
But the senior midfielder had a strong week of training this week, leading head coach Tony Amato to make a prophetic claim before Arizona left for the Pacific Northwest.
“My expectation is on Friday, the rust is knocked off and she’ll have a good game,” he predicted.
That she did.
Stoian scored off Jill Aguilera’s rebound in the 13th minute and tallied a team-high six shots in the match.
It was Stoian’s third goal of the season and 27th of her career.
“The injury was a setback. That stuff happens and I don’t think (this season has) gone according to plan for her,” Amato said Wednesday. “But honestly she could easily score six goals in the next six games. She’s that good.”
Stoian paced an Arizona attack that outshot Oregon State 22-11, including an 11-2 edge in shots on-goal.
Kieneker headed in a cross from Cali Crisler in the 20th minute to extend UA’s lead to 2-0 — Crisler’s sixth assist of the season (a team-high).
Arizona goalkeeper Lainey Burdett had two saves in her fifth shutout of the season.
UA improves to 6-4-3 overall and 3-2-1 in the Pac-12, jumping up into fifth in the conference standings.
Oregon State, which shut out Washington and Washington State last week, falls to 4-7-3 overall and 1-4-1 in the Pac-12.
It’s a crucial win for Arizona, which is entering the weaker part of their conference schedule, and needs to finish above .500 to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats will go for their second straight win Thursday when they face the 11th-place Utah Utes (5-7-2, 0-5-1 Pac-12) in Salt Lake City.
- Aguilera made her first career start, tying a career-high in shots (4). The redshirt freshman missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
- Arizona vaulted over Washington (2-1-2) in the Pac-12 standings with Friday’s win.
- Now that Arizona has passed Washington, all five of UA’s remaining games are vs. teams lower than them in the conference standings.
- Arizona is now 5-0 against Oregon State in Amato’s tenure (since 2013).
- The game time temperature in Corvallis was 46 degrees. 359 people were in attendance.
- This match wasn’t live streamed because Oregon State is Oregon State.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire