For the first time this season, the No. 17 University of Utah soccer team fell short as it dropped its match 1-0 to Loyola Marymount. It was a header from Lions forward Emily Carman in the 30th minute that was the made the difference. Heading into the match, Utah had won three games in a row, and forward Hailey Skolmoski knew Utah understood it would have to compete like it had at home, on the road.
“Nothing is handed to us,” Skolmoski said. “We have to go and earn it every time we play.”
Midfielder Eden Jacobsen had the first chance to get Utah on the board, but her shot was saved by Loyola Marymount’s goalie, Charlee Pruitt. After the goal by Carman, the Utes had two chances in the half to tie the match but were unable to do so. Forward Max Flom and defender Natalee Wells both had shots fired wide of the goal before the first half came to a close.
Starting the match off the way Utah did as it allowed an early goal was something that head coach Rich Manning wasn’t pleased about. He said how important it is to start a match “with the right amount of energy and aggressiveness.”
Utah had 11 shots during the second half, compared to its three in the first, but still weren’t able to get the ball on frame.
In the 52nd minute of the game, forward Natalie Vukic had the first chance of the half to score, but her shot was blocked by Pruitt who then saved a header by midfielder Paola Van der Veen, four minutes later. Utah continued to put pressure on the Loyola Marymount defense as Skolmoski took a shot in the 64th minute, but it went wide. Two minutes later she had a shot that was saved.
“Something I need to work on is having composure in front of the goal and knowing when to pass it to one of [my] teammates instead of taking the shot myself,” Skolmoski said.
In the 69th minute, Vukic’s shot was saved before midfielder Haylee Cacciacarne’s header sailed over the goal post. With 10 minutes of regulation left, Vukic and midfielder Holly Daugirda both had their shots blocked. Cacciacarne had a shot off a corner kick, but it went high. Less than a minute later, Van der Veen had a shot saved and Skolmoski’s was blocked to end the match.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Manning said. “In the first half there was no energy from us and they did show energy to start out and they scored a goal. Second half, we picked up the intensity and played very well.”
Manning praised the defense for their efforts and poise in the second half, especially defenders Tavia Leachman and Wells who he said stepped up for the team by starting its attack.
Manning is expecting his team to bounce back from this loss and look at the positives heading into its next game.
“It was a really tight game,” Manning said. “And a good experience playing from behind in the second half and trying to score that goal to tie it up.”
The Utes will visit Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. MT.