The search for a Pac-12 victory continues for the University of Utah soccer team (5-8-2) as it has yet to clinch its first conference win of the season. It was a lost cause for the Utes from the start of their game on Thursday against Arizona when the Wildcats got three early goals on them, and they couldn’t turn it around in time. It was a long battle for the Utes who fought back, but not enough as Utah fell short, 3-2.
“I am really disappointed in, especially, the start of our game” said head coach Rich Manning. “Clearly, we weren’t ready to battle and fight, and credit to Arizona for taking advantage of that. We didn’t really wake up until it was too late.”
Arizona took the lead early in the game when it scored a goal only 16 seconds into the first half. From then on, the Utes were playing catchup to try to equalize the score.
It was difficult for the Utes to get going once Arizona added another goal, bringing the score to 2-0 with just under five minutes of the first half having been played. The score was extended to 3-0 less than 20 minutes into the match when Arizona found the back of the net. For the rest of the game, Utah managed to hold off the Wildcats, but it failed in its own attempt to get a goal in the first half.
Utah tried to capitalize on a few chances early in the second half, but Arizona saved every shot. The Utes eventually made their first goal of the game off of a header from freshman Lulu Borges that was assisted by junior Paola Van der Veen. With 13 minutes left in the game, Utah was still fighting to make a come back.
“It felt amazing to get the first goal, but after that I had to get back into the mindset that we were still down two goals and we needed to get the ball,” Borges said. “We celebrated for a second and it felt good to get some motivation behind our team.”
Utah almost brought the match to a one-point game in the 84th minute when junior Hailey Skolmoski shot the ball, but it went wide. Skolmoski was quick to take advantage of another opportunity in the 86th minute and this time, she earned her eighth goal of the season.
“We started out slow, but we stepped it up and put good pressure on [Arizona] as the second half came along,” Borges said. “But we have to want more and we do want more, it just didn’t go our way today.”
Up next, the Utes are scheduled to play Arizona State on Sunday, Oct. 22 on the Ute Soccer Field. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. MT.