With only two more matches left to play on its schedule, the University of Utah soccer team is still on the hunt to find its first conference win. The Utes tried to break their losing streak when they faced Oregon this past Thursday, but instead they walked away with a 0-3 loss.
Head coach Rich Manning wasn’t pleased with what he saw from his team against the Ducks. He said that Utah not only gave up goals that it shouldn’t have, but that the “artificial” factors were only a small part of its struggle.
“We didn’t play aggressively and didn’t play our best soccer,” Manning said. “It was on an artificial turf and it was moist outside so the technical pieces weren’t great. It was a bit of a challenge with the surface and the weather, but overall I just think we have to battle harder and compete better.”
Senior Natalie Vukic said it was another one of those games that didn’t go her teams way and where details got the best of Utah. Vukic doesn’t think her team focused enough on the smaller things — marking up in the box, following the players, executing the game plan and winning individual battles — in order to achieve the outcome the Utes were looking for.
In what will be their last road game of the season, the Utes are headed to Corvallis to face Oregon State on Sunday, Oct. 29 on the Paul Lorenz Field at the Patrick Wayne Valley Stadium. While Utah is still disappointed about its performance against Oregon, Vuckic believes her team is capable of turning things around as it keeps in mind that every game is a new match and a fresh start.
“That is what our mindset is for Sunday,” Vukic said. “We just want to come out strong and show this conference what we are made of. I don’t think we have had the chance to really do that yet. We haven’t really shown that yet so we are still looking to have that opportunity.”
In order to walk away with a win this weekend, Vukic believes Utah has to have more of a desire, passion and drive to win than its opponent does. She believes that most of the time a match comes down to whoever wants it more and whoever has more heart, and that’s what she wants her team to bring as it tries to end its nine game losing streak.
“We have to find a way to gather ourselves after some disappointments and frustrations and compete hard and play good soccer together,” Manning said. “Unfortunately, that has been the case the last few weeks, but Sunday is another opportunity and we have to do that.”
The game is set to begin at 12 p.m. MT.