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Arizona soccer’s late comeback salvages a draw against UAB

Arizona’s Nyota Katembo (10) dribbles against UAB
Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

After what head coach Becca Moros referred to as “three kind of mediocre halves,” Arizona soccer found its footing in the 73rd minute to salvage a 2-2 draw against the University of Alabama-Birmingham on a warm Sunday morning. It was somewhat of a bounce-back for the Wildcats who lost their first match of the year at Grand Canyon University on Thursday evening.

It didn’t look promising. Arizona allowed UAB to score its first goal in the 17th minute on a goal by Carlyn Presley. The Blazers scored their second goal in the 35th minute when a goal kick by Arizona goalkeeper Hope Hisey was picked off beautifully by UAB. Presley was once again the recipient of the pass—this one by Georgia White—and put it in the back of the net.

“I think those are difficult things for the defense and the whole team to swallow because they know they could have been in better control of those moments,” Moros said. “And it’s important that people when they make mistakes—because we’re all making mistakes—that the team picks them up.”

After the mistakes, the concern for Arizona was that the Wildcats had only scored two goals in a match once this season. Even in that game one of the goals was an own goal by Iowa State. Would they be able to come back?

It took a while, but then things happened quickly. In the 73rd minute, Jolie Maycumber put a cross into the box. UAB’s goalkeeper could not control it and it landed at the feet of Arizona forward Jordan Hall. Hall put it in the net for the first goal of her career.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Hall said.

Thirty-five seconds later, Nyota Katembo was taken down in the box and earned the penalty kick for Arizona.

“I was thinking to touch the second ball,” Katembo said. “Once I cut back, she fouled me.”

Senior Madison Goerlinger stepped to the spot and leveled the match.

“You gotta have confidence,” Goerlinger said. “Stepping up, it’s a huge honor that my teammates have the respect and pleasure of me taking that PK. So I go in with confidence and hope for the best.”

It was a positive development for Arizona after being dominated by GCU on Thursday. After seeing UAB take advantage of their mistakes in the first half, the Wildcats were able to take advantage of the Blazers’ choices in the second.

“I think they made the mistake of backing up,” Moros said. “Maybe it’s not a mistake but a tactical choice, but I think it allowed us to get a rhythm which we hadn’t had up to that point for three halves in both games.”

Despite ending in a tie, Arizona dominated most of the statistical categories. The Wildcats led 16-9 in shots, although both teams had eight shots on goal. Arizona had a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks. They even had fewer fouls than UAB (10-6), although both teams picked up a yellow card.

The draw put Arizona’s record at 2-1-2 on the season. The Wildcats will now prepare for their final nonconference matches against Pepperdine and UC Davis before they open Pac-12 play at Utah on Sept. 23.