Nicole Dallin was Arizona soccer’s top goal-scorer last season with five scores in 18 matches. She’s over halfway to that total in just three matches this season as she scored in the third straight contest to help Arizona to its first win of the season.
The Wildcats defeated Northern Arizona 2-1 in Flagstaff to improve to 1-1-1 on the season.
Dallin and the Wildcats were efficient with their chances. She had just two shots in 55 minutes of play. Both were on goal. One found its way past Lumberjacks’ keeper Trinity Corcoran in the 13th minute to give Arizona a 1-0 lead.
It’s been the story of Dallin’s season so far. In three games, she has taken just five shots. All five have been on goal and three have found the back of the net. She leads the team with six points despite playing just 152 total minutes this year.
For the first time this season, Dallin wasn’t the only Wildcat to beat the opposing keeper. Arizona took a 2-0 lead in the 56th minute when sophomore Cameron Valladares scored for the first time in her college career.
Valladares played in just seven matches last year, making her final appearance against California on Oct. 2. She had just one shot in 156 minutes played.
In 2023, Valladares has emerged as a regular for Arizona, already appearing in all three matches for a total of 134 minutes. She started the last two against Grand Canyon and NAU. She has taken five shots, putting three of them on target. On Sunday, she finally broke through with the first points of her career.
The Wildcats continued to have problems on defense, an issue that has plagued the inexperienced back line in all three matches this season. Once again, the opponent came out ready from the first whistle while Arizona was on its heels a bit until Dallin scored almost 15 minutes in.
Things got more difficult in the second half. The Wildcats had a hard time marking the long NAU passes over the top. The Lumberjacks had several risky chances late in the game, including almost equalizing on an Arizona own goal. NAU finally got one through in the 67th minute off the foot of Haylee Phoenix.
As a team, UA was outshot by NAU 14-12. In their defense, the Wildcats were taking more dangerous shots, putting half of their 12 attempts on goal while the Lumberjacks had four of 14 shots on target.
Arizona will play its next two contests on a neutral field when they travel to Tempe to take on Kent State on Aug. 31 and Boise State on Sept. 3 at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. The Wildcats finally return home on Sept. 7 to host Texas Tech.