The Arizona Wildcats will try to rebound this week against Oregon and Oregon State following a 2-1, double-overtime loss to No. 12 UCLA last week.
The loss was Arizona’s fifth this season by one goal.
There is momentum the Cats can gain going into the closing weeks of the season. Midfielder Jaden DeGracie-Bailey said the team made big strides in its second-half performance against the Bruins.
“The second half was when we really came out fighting,” DeGracie-Bailey said. “We really had the fight and the aggression. If we can play like the second half against anyone, then we’ll be really successful.”
It was Kelcey Cavarra, freshman midfielder from Littleton, Colorado, who forced the game to overtime with a 69th-minute goal. It was her first of the season and first ever as a Wildcat.
“It was one of the best moments of my life,” Cavarra said. “That was a huge momentum push for us. It was really cool I got to be a part of that and make that happen.”
The goal wasn’t enough to get over the hump, though. Sunny Dunphy returned the favor with her first career goal in the 102nd minute, securing the win for the Bruins.
This week is an opportunity for Cavarra and the Cats (6-7-1, 1-5) to make up some ground in the conference. Oregon and Oregon State are both winless in conference play.
“I think definitely the score we posted up against UCLA is a good indicator of what we can do,” Cavarra said.
“Even though it wasn’t a tie or a win I think that gives us confidence going into the weekend.”
Arizona will need a strong finish to get into the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats started 5-1-1 but have been 1-6 since. They’re currently 73rd nationally in RPI.
“I think in the history of the Pac-12, if you go 5-5-1, all those teams have always got in” to the NCAA tournament, coach Tony Amato said. “If we can get there, we like our chances.”
Getting to that point will not come easy. Third-ranked Stanford and 10th-ranked Cal come into town next week.
“The end goal is to get to the tournament,” DeGracie-Bailey said. “We’re not done, we still have games to play, and we can get in.”