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Arizona soccer blanked by Washington State in Pac-12 opener

Photo courtesy Washington State Athletics

Arizona soccer was blanked by Washington State 2-0 in Pullman on Friday to open the Pac-12 season.

It was the Cougars’ first win over the Wildcats since 2013. Arizona had won six straight in this series, though the teams did not play last season due to COVID-19 issues within the WSU program.

Enzi Broussard volleyed in a rebound in the 13th minute and Elyse Bennett drilled a long shot into the upper corner in the 62nd minute.

Arizona struggled to create chances, only taking two corner kicks and getting outshot 15-7. The Wildcats’ best opportunities came late in the first half.

Madison Goerlinger nearly headed in a service from Maddy Koleno in the 38th minute. Jill Aguilera found some space less than a minute later, and almost buried an angled left-footed shot but it rolled wide of the far post.

It’s already the fourth time Arizona (3-5) has been shut out this season. They have not scored in their last two games.

Washington State (7-1-1) has won four straight and has the talent to contend for a Pac-12 championship.

The big picture

The Wildcats entered the day 127th in the country in RPI, the worst mark in the Pac-12, which hasn’t been as strong as usual this season.

Chris Henderson of projects that only five or six Pac-12 teams—at best—will make the NCAA Tournament.

Hocking returns

Senior midfielder Iliana Hocking (hamstring) returned after a six-game absence. Usually a starter, she played 37 minutes off the bench.

A fierce competitor, Hocking is a key part of an otherwise young Arizona midfield. She will line up against her twin sister Penelope, one of the best forwards in the country, next Sunday when the Wildcats host USC. (But first UA will host No. 3 UCLA on Thursday.)

Studer family reunion

Speaking of sister battles, Washington State’s midfield features Oregon State transfer Sydney Studer, the older sister of UA defender Jenna Studer.

Sydney, an All-Pac-12 talent, played 86 minutes Friday. Jenna, sometimes a starter, played 21 minutes off the bench and recorded one of Arizona’s two second-half shots. It was her first action since Sept. 4. She had missed the last three games with an injury.