For coach Lisa Oyen and the Arizona soccer team, it's all about baby steps.

On Friday night, the Arizona Wildcats took a few more of them, overcoming a 1-0 deficit and, worse, a lack of intensity, to tie Central Florida 1-1 after two overtimes in the Cats Classic at Murphey Stadium.

Arizona's roster, much like it has for the last four seasons, consists overwhelmingly of freshmen and sophomores - 20 of them, with only six upperclassmen.

And Friday, it played without junior forward Renae Cuellar, the team's leading scorer, because of an undisclosed injury.

"We're starting to refine who we are as a team," Oyen said. "I'm happy we came back and happy we responded. But we had opportunities to finish off the game in 90 minutes, and I have to give credit to Central Florida for that."

The Knights (4-2-1) opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Katie Jackson pounced on a loose ball in the 6-yard box.

Bianca Joswiak got the play started with an overlapping run on the left flank, and UA goalkeeper Ashley Jett could only get her fingertips on Joswiak's cross, allowing the ball to settle for Jackson.

Failing to match UCF's intensity for most of the first half, it looked like it would be a long evening for Arizona, but the Wildcats ended the half on a positive note and carried their momentum into the second half.

The team earned a penalty kick in the 53rd minute when Ashley Nicol handled the ball in her own penalty area, but Jazmin Ponce's shot from the spot was saved by Aline Reis.

Just five minutes later, Arizona (2-3-2) would find its equalizer when freshman Ana Montoya buried a loose ball in the box, after an Ariel Boulicault cross, for her second goal of the season.

Central Florida's Nicolette Radovcic hit the crossbar off a corner kick in the 75th minute, but neither team would find many scoring opportunities for the remainder of regulation and both 10-minute overtime periods.

With limited scoring opportunities, Oyen is challenging the rest of the team, especially with Cuellar not in uniform, to fill some important roles in the Arizona offense.

"We are trying to learn how we can be more dangerous in our attack," she said. "Some of it is us being skillful enough to recognize and take what the opponent is giving us."

Up next

• What: Ohio State at Arizona

• When: 1 p.m. Sunday