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Arizona soccer opens final Pac-12 season with dominant win over Oregon

Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

The final season of Pac-12 play got off the way Arizona soccer wanted it to. A 3-0 victory over the Oregon Ducks was exactly what the Wildcats hoped for as they get ready to go to the Big 12 next season and Oregon prepares for the Big Ten.

“I felt like we did a good job from the first whistle, which was really what we were talking about,” said Arizona head coach Becca Moros. “Don’t give them a chance to take the momentum early. So, making sure that we wrestled with them early to get the momentum and then keep it. I think that the girls came with a lot of fight and obviously everybody’s pretty excited for Pac-12 play to start and there’s some nostalgia with it being the last season. And so, I think that that was nice to see the emotion come out in the team and be channeled in a really productive and competitive way.”

As their coach mentioned, the Wildcats didn’t waste much time before grabbing ahold of the game. Sophomore Sami Baytosh put the team up 1-0 in the 14th minute off the assist from Ella Hatteberg.

“Part of imposing our game is making sure we crush their spirits, crush their game plan,” said senior forward Nicole Dallin. “So, getting an early goal just really helps.”

Arizona didn’t just crush the Ducks’ spirits at the beginning of the first half. They did it even faster at the beginning of the second half, putting to rest the idea of an early comeback from Oregon. Once again, it was Baytosh with the goal. This time it was less than a minute into the period.

“It sets the tone for the whole team just getting that first goal,” Baytosh said. “It’s like, ‘Okay, we’re going,’ But we still have to come out and perform because we still have the rest of the half.”

The Wildcats continued to perform. They outshot the Ducks 25-8. Nine of their shots were on goal compared to three for Oregon. They had eight corner kicks to just two for UO. And they did it fairly cleanly, committing just three fouls while Oregon was whistled seven times.

Baytosh wasn’t the only one to find the back of the net. Dallin scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season, a shot to the bottom left off an assist from Desiree Foster in the 61st minute.

The score puts Dallin second in the Pac-12 in goals. Her 14 points this season are third in the conference. She has scored in seven of the Wildcats’ nine matches, improving on her previous career high of five goals in a season.

The two assists in the game matched Arizona’s previous season high when the team assisted on two of five goals against Kent State. Hatteberg and Foster are tied for the team lead with two assists each this season.

Goalkeeper Hope Hisey got her second shutout of the season while making three saves. She needs four more clean sheets to tie for the all-time career record for solo shutouts. Lainey Burdett (2015-18) holds the school record for shutouts with 26.

Hisey is also chasing the record for career saves. The three against Oregon improved her total to 318. That puts her 27 behind Jen Weibel (1994-96) with 10 matches left in the regular season.

While there were a lot of positives for Arizona, the Wildcats ended the game with one prominent concern. Sophomore defender Trinity Dorsey, who just recently came back from an injury, went down in the fourth minute of the game. She did not return and came out of the locker room after halftime with a brace on her knee.

“Right now, they’re just being careful and safe until they can get it properly looked at,” Moros said. “I think she’s spooked and obviously worried for a worst-case scenario, but we don’t at this point have any evidence of that from the manual tests and things in looking at her. So, it’s gonna take a more sophisticated evaluation to find anything out, which is a good thing. Sometimes you know right away...So, we’ll just have to leave it to the experts.”

Senior midfielder Megan Chelf also left in the first half after going down in the 24th minute. Chelf was able to return after halftime.

Arizona tries to keep things rolling in the Pac-12 when it heads to the Bay Area to face California and No. 2 Stanford for the final time as conference mates next week.