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Arizona soccer heads into 3-game homestand beginning with Utah, Colorado

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Time is getting short for Arizona soccer’s 2021 season. The Wildcats (3-12, 0-8 Pac-12) start their final homestand on Thursday when they host Utah. A Sunday match against Colorado and next week’s finale against Arizona State will wrap things up for one of the most prolific scorers in program history. As super senior Jill Aguilera stands just two goals short of tying Arizona’s all-time goal-scoring record, her team still searches for its first Pac-12 win of the season.

“I’m going to be sad when it ends,” first-year head coach Becca Moros said.

Moros allowed that it will be nice to have a full offseason to continue teaching and installing her system. She’s just not ready to let this group to end its season yet.

Fortunately, there are another eight days for the group to compete together. They start off with a Utah team that has a very similar profile. The Utes are 6-8-3 overall this season and 1-5-2 in conference play.

Utah does have slightly better stats. The Utes average one goal per match while giving up 1.41 goals to opponents. After being held scoreless twice last week, the Wildcats have dropped to 0.80 goals scored per match. Two four-goal matches from opponents in the past two weeks have bumped up the goals-against average to 2.13.

The percentage of shots on goal is still fairly high for Arizona compared to its opponents, with 45 percent of their shots being on goal compared to 47.1 percent for opponents. The problem is that the Wildcats are getting far fewer shots overall. Opponents are getting 17.4 shots per match compared to just 9.9 for Arizona.

Those issues will be even more pronounced on Sunday when Arizona faces Colorado (7-6-3, 2-3-3 Pac-12). The Buffaloes are outscoring their opponents 27 goals to 26 over the course of the season. While their opponents get slightly more shots per match, the Buffs are slightly more proficient at putting them on goal.

The Wildcats have controlled play in some of their matches, like last month’s showing against UCLA. The lack of scoring by anyone but Aguilera has allowed opponents to suffocate the talented forward, which has generally meant the end of Arizona’s chances.

Both Utah and Colorado are more balanced on offense. While Aguilera has six of the Wildcats’ 12 goals this season, the Utes have two players with four goals each and 10 players with at least one goal this season. For the Buffaloes, both Shanade Hopcroft and Shyra James have scored six goals each and the team has six players with multiple goals. Twelve Buffs have at least one goal this year.

The Wildcats will have their hands full on Sunday, but they showed that they could go toe-to-toe with top teams with a strong showing against UCLA last month. On the other side, they have also been dominated by fellow teams in the bottom half of the conference like Washington and Oregon State.

Arizona has three more chances to send its seniors off with victories. Can they break through their offensive doldrums?

Utah Utes

Time and date: Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. MST

Location: Mulcahy Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

Viewing and stats: The match will air on Pac-12 Arizona and Pac-12 Mountain. In-game stats will be available on Arizona Live Stats.

RPI and standings: The Utes are 10th in the Pac-12 standings. They are No. 65 in RPI.

Colorado Buffaloes

Time and date: Sunday, Oct. 31 at TBD (Matches usually start at noon or 1 p.m., but the time is not noted on the Arizona schedule.)

Location: Mulcahy Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

Viewing and stats: The match will be streamed on Arizona Live Stream 2. In-game stats will be available on Arizona Live Stats.

RPI and standings: The Buffaloes stand in seventh in the Pac-12. They are No. 37 in RPI.

How to follow along: For regular news about the team, follow us on Twitter @AZDesertSwarm. For live tweets of games and other updates, you can follow our deputy editor @KimDoss71.