Losing on a penalty kick with less than five minutes to go is tough. Doing so when you feel like the opponent got away with excessive physicality all match is even tougher. That’s how it played out at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium as Arizona fell to Washington State 2-1 on Thursday evening.
“I think they were aggressive and I think the ref let a lot of afters go, so I think that that allowed them to be disruptive and not be checked on it,” said Arizona head coach Becca Moros. “And so, I think that that’s what they did the best...I think the physicality of the game and all of the shoving and the afters and the late kicks, I think that they accumulate in the course of the game, and they give an advantage to the other team.”
Both the coach and the players agreed that they probably didn’t handle the physicality and the officiating as well as they could have.
“Momentum shifts in their favor with fouls,” said forward Nicole Dallin. “But we have to be able to keep our composure in those moments, not get it in their face, not let them see its effectiveness.”
Dallin scored Arizona’s goal in the 42nd minute. It was her eighth of the season, tying her for ninth in program history for goals scored in a season. She matched Jazmin Ponce (2012), Candice Wilks (2001, 2003), and Nikki Jones (1995). With one more goal, she will move into a tie with Jill Aguilera (2019, 2020, 2021) for eighth.
The score came off an assist from freshman Jessica Ramirez. It was the first collegiate assist and point for the midfielder from Villa Park, Calif.
“It was at Jess’ feet, and one thing we’ve been working on is breaking lines with our passes,” Dallin said. “She played a great first-time ball through their center back and their outside back. Put me in a perfect spot.”
Dallin led the team with four shots. Three of them were on goal. As a group, Arizona was outshot by the Cougars 12-7. Wazzu put seven shots on goal compared to four for the Wildcats. Each team was called for seven fouls, but the biggest one was assessed to UA.
Washington State equalized in the 55th minute when Margie Detrizio scored off the assist from Megan Santa Cruz. The backbreaker came with 4:46 left to go. After letting numerous fouls go throughout the game, the referee called a foul on Sami Baytosh in the box.
Arizona goalkeeper Hope Hisey had faced three penalty kicks this season. She had saved all three. There’s a reason that penalty kicks are considered almost automatic, though. Even Hisey couldn’t keep the shot from Reagan Kotschau out of the net.
Hisey finished the game with five saves to tie her season high. She now has 331 career saves, placing her 14 behind Jan Weibel (1994-96) for the most in program history. Hisey averages 3.5 saves per match this year and has seven matches to go in the regular season.
The Wildcats fell to 4-5-3 on the season. They are 1-3 in Pac-12 play. The Cougars improved to 8-4 overall. It was their first conference win this year.
Arizona next faces Washington on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. MST. The match will be streamed on Arizona Live Stream 2.