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Arizona soccer falls to No. 1 Stanford to begin Pac-12 play

The Wildcats held the Cardinal scoreless in the first half

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

The Arizona Wildcats held top-ranked Stanford scoreless in the first half, but UA head coach Tony Amato wasn’t exactly pleased by what he saw.

The Cardinal outshot the Wildcats 14-1 and faced little resistance on the ball. And when Arizona did have the ball, they were frantic.

“We have to take care of the ball a little bit. Once we have it, we have to have some composure,” Amato told the Pac-12 Network before the second half got underway. “If we have to defend for the entire second half, they’re bound to score, so we’re going to have to have some conviction on the ball and create a few attacks, otherwise it’s going to be a long 45 minutes.”

He was right. It was a long 45 minutes. Stanford scored two second-half goals en route to a 2-0 victory in their Pac-12 opener.

It ends Arizona’s seven-game winning streak. They are 7-2. Stanford improves to 8-0-1. They are unbeaten in their last 31 matches.

Catarina Macario headed in a free kick in the 57th minute, then set up Jordan DiBiasi in front of the net for the insurance goal in the 80th minute.

The Cardinal outshot the Wildcats, 31-6, dominating possession as expected. Arizona had two shots on goal, both courtesy of Hannah Clifford, who came off the bench.

Arizona did not generate their first shot until the 38th minute when Clifford knocked a floater from distance into the hands of Stanford goalie Alison Jahansouz, who finished with two saves.

Arizona did take all three of their corner kicks in the second half, but none were dangerous.

UA goalkeeper Lainey Burdett tied her career high with 11 saves. She had the same number in last season’s match against Stanford. Arizona mostly did a good job preventing threatening scoring chances — especially in the first half — so most of Burdett’s saves were routine.

Arizona continues conference play next week when they host Utah (3-5-1) and No. 23 Colorado (9-0-1) on Thursday and Sunday, respectively.

The Wildcats then head to Southern California to face No. 4 USC and No. 5 UCLA, so beating the Mountain schools is crucial for their NCAA Tournament aspirations.

Arizona entered the day No. 41 in RPI.