Brooke Wilson wasted no time making up for lost time.
The freshman, who has been hampered by injury and illness, scored two goals within the first three minutes of Arizona’s 4-1 win over New Mexico on Sunday. Wilson then completed the hat trick in the 30th minute by tucking a shot from distance inside the far post.
She was beaming when she gave a thumbs up to the crowd as the Wildcats filed into their locker room at halftime.
“She’s a very good player and she needed that from a confidence standpoint,” said UA coach Tony Amato. “She hasn’t been able to find her rhythm since she’s been here, and I think that’s a big step for her.”
Wilson broke her leg in September, derailing a promising start to her UA career after she scored three goals in her first seven games.
The spring was supposed to be a critical time for her to get back up to speed, but UA’s first game got snowed out, then she was held out of last Saturday’s match at Arizona State with an illness.
Missing so much time has frustrated Wilson, who has said she loves soccer, and scoring, more than anything. She unleashed all that ire on the Lobos on Sunday.
“I was just so excited,” she said. “Warmups are the hardest thing for me because as soon as I step on the field I’m ready to go. By the time we got on the field I was like shooting out of a cannon.”
Sophomore Jada Talley scored Arizona’s fourth goal in the 14th minute and assisted on Wilson’s first tally with a well-placed cross, which Wilson knocked in with ease after losing her defender.
“I was really happy for her because I know she’s been down on herself,” Talley said. “She’ll text me sometimes like, ‘What do you think I can do better?’ And I love helping her and I know she can do it. She’s just one of those players, like me, if you have a bad game I sit there and say ‘I suck.’ So I’m just really happy for her. I think this boosted her confidence a lot and she needs it.”
Wilson, Arizona’s highest-ranked recruit ever, has scored six goals in 11 games with the Wildcats, counting last fall and this spring. Many within the program believe she is poised for a breakout sophomore season.
If she stays healthy, that is.
“She scores goals and that’s so hard to do,” Amato said. “We’ve been out recruiting ... and you’re looking for who puts the ball in the back of the net. There are a lot of good players out there and there’s not a lot of goal scorers. Her finest quality is that, and she showed that today. She had a couple different finishes. One, a hard run in the box. One, a very composed finish. And one, a very hard finish. Three very good goals and that will build her confidence moving forward.”
Arizona improved to 2-1 in the spring and closes out the season Saturday at GCU. Wilson said she had “a lot” of hat tricks in her club days when she starred for San Diego Surf SC.
Sunday’s was her favorite of them all.
“In club, my biggest asset was that I could score in weird situations,” she said. “Here, I just feel like I haven’t been able to execute that as much, so this is just very exciting.”
.@brookiiew231 had a hat trick in @ArizonaSoccer’s win vs. New Mexico today, her first time scoring since breaking her leg in September: “It built my confidence a lot and I just felt excited to be on the field.” pic.twitter.com/HBi5PqZEg7— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) April 7, 2019
.@jadatalley_ scored her third goal of the spring in @ArizonaSoccer’s win vs. New Mexico.— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) April 7, 2019
UA has scored 10 goals in 3 games: “I just think we have more composure as an offense. We’re getting really used to playing with each other and I think it will carry over to the season.” pic.twitter.com/A57a6mMIEL