Lisa Oyen shared the Arizona Wildcats' head soccer coaching duties last year after Dan Tobias left.

This year, she's got the job all to herself - although former co-interim coach John Galas is her associate head coach.

Days from the 0-2 Wildcats' home debut against NAU at 7 tonight, the Star talked to Oyen about the season:

Exited about your first year as head coach?

It's exciting - that's the best word for it. We anxiously awaited the season, so the work we've done the past seven or eight months can come to fruition. There's a really good vibe with the team right now.

What did you learn from last year?

The way everything happened, you just keep going forward.

Part of it is you get an appreciation for the players. It's also great working with John Galas.

What did you like, and not, about the first two games?

The results were tough but we played the kind of soccer we're trying to build toward.

We're excited about that, and so are our players. We're trying to play a possession-oriented game.

Did you tell the players to forget about last year?

They kinda knew it already.

We have a group of players that really love being at the UA and love being Wildcats.

Is there one player to watch? Or three?

(Junior forward) Renae Cuellar, (freshman forward) Jazmin Ponce, and gosh, if I had to pick one more. ... (senior midfielder) Macke Mutz. She's great in the air.

What's your main strength?

Creativity in our attack.


I'm not going to tell anyone that (laughing).

The Pac-10 coaches' picked you last.

Polls are polls, based on info from the past seasons. No one's really seen this team play.

Will (tonight) be special for you, coaching at home?

We have a great community of people that support our team. To be there with their support, for me, is going to be a special moment.


• What: Northern Arizona at Arizona

• Where: Murphey Stadium

• When: 7 p.m.