The inseparable, and sometimes supernatural, bond between Jada Talley and Sabrina Enciso was on full display against Colorado last September.
Enciso, Arizona’s stout left back, dispossessed a Buffalo attacker, created some space, and rifled a pass downfield to Talley.
The speedy forward controlled it, spun around a defender, and made a long run toward the box where she deked two centerbacks before lacing a shot into the upper right corner.
“I feel like we have telepathy,” Talley said. “It’s crazy to me. I’ll literally just make my run, back turned to her, and she knows where to put the ball. I don’t have to tell her. I really don’t even have to call for it.”
It’s a chemistry that’s been brewing for a while.
Now juniors at the UA, Talley and Enciso have been teammates since they joined the SoCal Blues, one of the top clubs in Southern California, at age 14. Even before that, they “knew of each other” for years as they starred for different clubs and had some mutual friends.
“And then we joined the same team at the same time, and we immediately clicked,” Enciso said. “But it made sense.”
“We’re the same person, same personality.” Talley explained.
“We balance perfectly,” Enciso agreed.
“Yeah,” Talley said. “Where I lack, Sabs has it. And what she lacks, I have it.”
“And our humor is the same,” Enciso said.
Impressed by assistant coach Paul Nagy and the homey feeling she experienced on the UA campus, Enciso committed to Arizona early in her sophomore year of high school.
She was Arizona’s first commitment at the time, so she immediately got to work as a recruiter, convincing her best friend to visit the UA.
“I remember I spoke to Paul and he’s welcoming, he’s warm,” Talley said. “He’s somebody you want to be around every day, somebody you look forward to seeing at practice. He’s never in a bad mood.”
Still, Talley was only going to commit to the Wildcats if they could honor a specific, though unsurprising, request: Can I room with Sabrina?
It’s a common belief that relationships between friends can become strained when they live together, but that doesn’t apply to Talley and Enciso, who are still going strong as they enter their third year as roommates.
“That’s not us. People kept telling us that, and we just don’t have that problem,” Talley said. “This is the thing, though—when we’re sick of each other, we let each other know.”
Evidently those instances are rare because, well, they do everything together. They choreograph dance routines and perform them in their kitchen. They are regulars at Azian, their go-to sushi joint. They like the same YouTubers—David Dobrik and Shane Dawson—and watch MTV’s Are You The One?
“They basically can finish each other’s sentences,” said UA defender Morgan McGarry. “They’re always within 10 yards of each other.”
Until they step on the soccer field, that is. As close as Talley and Enciso are off the field—they are called sisters by some—their roles on the pitch couldn’t be more different.
In the simplest terms, Enciso’s job is to prevent goals. Talley’s job is to create them.
“Yeah, but I know what her strengths are, she knows mine,” Enciso said. “I know if she needs to work on something, and I’ll tell her. If I need to work on something, she’ll tell me. We’re completely honest with each other and I want her best performance on the field, she wants my best performance. And that’s what makes us such good friends too—because we’re honest. We just want each other to work hard.”
Enciso has been a starter both years at Arizona. Talley mostly came off the bench as a freshman, but took a big leap as a sophomore when she led the Wildcats with seven goals, six more than she scored as a freshman.
With Talley leading the offense and Enciso solidifying the defense, Arizona has made the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons, averaging 12 wins per year, including 13 in 2018.
It’s the third-best two-year stretch in program history, though Enciso said there’s “a lot of room to improve.”
“I think we’re getting better,” Talley said. “Me personally, I get so many chances a game. I just have to capitalize on them because I feel like we would definitely win more games by more, or wouldn’t be in such tight places and going into overtime if I can finish my chances. So that’s just something I need to work on this year.”
Enciso scored her first, and only, goal last season in a win over Houston Baptist. That victory made Tony Amato the winningest head coach in program history.
The way Enciso and Talley see it, there will be many more to come in the next two years.
“I feel like preseason is going really well,” Talley said Thursday, roughly a month before the 2019 season opener. “Everyone’s (fitness) scores are really good, everyone’s making good times on our runs, no one’s really coming in behind the mark. It just feels like it’s the start of a good year. ... And while we’re here, we want to be the team that gave Tony the [wins record], and nobody can beat it.”