It was a rough ending for the University of Utah women’s soccer team on Friday as its season came to an end on senior day. The team honored four seniors before the match that Utah fell short in, 2-0. The Utes, who were looking for their first conference win of the season, dominated the Buffaloes in the first half with five corner kicks compared to Colorado’s one. The Utes end the season with a 5-11-3 record going 0-9-2 in conference action.
The first Colorado goal was scored in the twelfth minute off a free kick. With the Buffaloes taking an early lead, the Utes continued to take shots to try and at least even the score. Utah had six shots in the first half, two more than Colorado. Junior Paola Van der Veen and freshman Jessica Hixson both had shots on goal.
Van der Veen had a shot in the 33rd minute that was powered from the top of the box, but it was stopped by the Colorado goalkeeper. Following her, sophomore Aleea Gwerder almost gave the Utes a goal with a shot that bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Going into the second half, the Utes still tried to press the ball into the Buffaloes’ defending third. Utah took five more corner kicks this time around. Senior goalkeeper July Mathias had some strong saves in the second half as she saved three shots from benefiting their opponent.
The final goal of the game was scored with nine seconds left in regulation. A long goal kick taken by Colorado played into the bottom right post of the Utes’ net.
Head coach Rich Manning said the goal of the game for the Utes was to break down the Buffaloes defense.
“They had a lot of people dedicated to being back there and it made it hard for us to score and at the end of the day we couldn’t break them down,” Manning said. “We created a few good chances, but they just weren’t there.”
Junior Hailey Skolmoski finished the game with two shots on goal. She said there was no defining moment of this match, but there was a culminating factor that had been developing all season.
“We gave a good effort, but that’s the story of the season. We gave it all we had, but it didn’t go our way,” Skolmoski said. “I think the reality of it is we didn’t take care of the ball in either 18. We didn’t defend well in our own 18, and we didn’t finish our opportunities in our offensive 18.”
Utah ends its season winless in conference play. For Manning, he believes the Utes aren’t defined by one moment from their season, but rather the way they feel about the sport and about each other.
“This team is defined by, they are really passionate about soccer, they work really hard and they love each other,” Manning said. “We didn’t get the results we wanted, but we are proud of the way they presented themselves.”