The season will officially come to an end for the University of Utah soccer team on Friday, Nov. 3. Not only will the Utes be competing in their last match of their season, but they will also honor their seniors one final time on the Ute Soccer Field.
The Utes head into the match coming off another Pac-12 loss, this time against the Oregon State Beavers this past Sunday. Junior Paola Van der Veen said the loss against the Beavers could be Utah’s toughest defeat yet because she felt her team played a strong game and outplayed their opponent, but was unable to capitalize on its opportunities to score.
With no conference win to its name this season, head coach Rich Manning feels his team has given up too many goals, and it hasn’t scored enough of its own goals. This adds up to inconsistency, pressure and little details that aren’t getting enough focus.
“I think the team put a lot of extra pressure on itself to do well to live up to last year and started spiraling in the wrong way, and we haven’t been able to get out of that tail spin,” Manning said. “It’s understandable. You can see in some games we have put some pressure on ourselves so we didn’t play freely with confidences for 90 minutes. We put together good halves and good two-thirds of the game, but Friday is another opportunity. That is what we are hoping for. I know the team is disappointed in the results, but they haven’t given up, and we are hoping we can do it in our last game.”
With one more chance to end the season with a league victory, Utah will face the Colorado Buffaloes. Manning is looking forward to the home game, and he is looking forward to the chance to make sure his seniors go out on a high note. For Van der Veen, the seniors are what it is all about come Friday.
“Mainly this game is for the seniors to get a good result at the end and give them the last game they deserve,” Van der Veen said. “We are going to try to do whatever we can possible do so we can get a win.”
Looking at Colorado, both Manning and Van der Veen believe it is a strong and solid team the Utes will play. Manning added that this season, the Buffaloes’ defense has been performing well; it has been tough to score against, and has been doing well enough to win its matches.
The technical work is an area that Utah wants to improve in, and Van der Veen said her team needs to work on taking its first Pac-12 win this weekend.
“We just have to work together and stay connected as a team,” Van der Veen said. “I feel like if that is what we can show on Friday, then we will win the game.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT.