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Arizona soccer faces another tough road challenge vs California, Stanford

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Stanford women’s soccer isn’t the best team in the Pac-12 this year. The No. 14 Cardinal are still among the best in the nation, though. It’s one more tall task for the Arizona Wildcats as they travel to face California (6-4-3, 2-3-1) and Stanford (10-3-1, 4-1-1) this weekend.

Arizona (3-10, 0-6) is still seeking its first conference win, and they now have to do it without one of their senior defenders. Sabrina Enciso was knocked out of the match two weeks ago against Oregon. It was one more setback the Wildcats didn’t need.

Last week, Arizona gave up four goals to the Washington Huskies, who had only scored 12 goals in 12 matches coming into the competition. This week, they will start things against a Golden Bears team that has had similar issues scoring this year. Cal has scored 15 goals in 13 matches so far this season, led by freshman Karlie Lema with five.

Like the Wildcats with Jill Aguilera’s six goals on the year, the Golden Bears really heavily on Lema. They have one other player with multiple goals, sophomore Abby Borchers who has two on the season.

The difference is that Cal has more players who have contributed to the offense than Arizona does. In addition to Lema and Borchers, The Golden Bears have eight other players with at least one goal on the season. For the Wildcats, Aguilera is joined by six others, all of whom have one goal each.

The Golden Bears have also shown a much stronger defense than the Wildcats have. They have given up just 11 goals on the season compared to 27 by Arizona.

The hill will get even steeper on Sunday when the Wildcats play across the San Francisco Bay at Stanford. The Cardinal may not be dominating the conference as in years past, but they are still putting up big numbers.

It starts with the 35 goals scored. The Cardinal averaged 22 shots per game with 44.8 percent of those shots being on goal.

Five different players have scored at least three goals this season for Stanford. That includes Maya Doms, who is tied for fifth in the Pac-12 with eight goals this year. She has been backed off-and-on by Abby Greubel, who played in her first Pac-12 matches of the season two weeks ago but didn’t appear last week. Greubel has five goals on the year, including one in her last appearance against Washington.

On the defensive side of play, the Cardinal have been strong despite playing five teams that have been ranked at some point this season. In 13 matches, they have given up just 11 goals while limiting their opponents to just 7.2 shots per game.

California Golden Bears

Time and date: Thursday, Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. MST

Location: Edwards Stadium in Berkeley, Calif.

Viewing and stats: The match will air on Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Arizona, and Pac-12 Bay Area. In-game stats will be available on Cal Live Stats.

RPI and rankings: The Golden Bears aren’t ranked. They are No. 62 in RPI.

Stanford Cardinal

Time and date: Sunday, Oct. 24 at 12 p.m. MST

Location: Laird Q. Cagan Stadium in Stanford, Calif.

Viewing and stats: The match will be aired on Pac-12 Networks. Stats will be available at Stanford Live Stats.

RPI and rankings: The Cardinal are ranked No. 14 in the United Soccer Coaches poll. They are No. 33 in RPI.