In their final home game of the 2018 Pac-12 conference season, the University of Utah soccer team took on No. 2 USC. Both teams played tough, and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
This game was not only the final home game for the seniors, but it was also the final game on Ute Soccer Field, as this grass field will be torn down soon to make way for a new building. The team will relocate to a new turf field for the 2019 season and the new complex will be completed next year.
This game was the time for the Utes to honor their seniors: Max Flom, Hailey Skolmoski, Liberty Taylor and Paola Van der Veen were all recognized for their contributions to the team.
The Utes had the first chance to score with shots from Flom and Haylee Cacciacarne. However, USC’s Kaylie Collins was able to block both.
From here, it was back and forth for both teams, but each goalie kept the ball out of their goal for the entire first half of play.
The game remained scoreless through the first half of the game for both the Utes and the Trojans with unsuccessful attempts to score from both teams.
“Today, it was just all or nothing. We knew we were playing number two in the country, so we knew we had to bring our game,” said Van der Veen. “We were a little off on Thursday, so it was important for us to bounce back today and finish strong on our home field, and I think that’s what we did today.”
The second half of play, Utah started off strong with a long run from Ireland Dunn, which resulted in two corner kicks for the Utes. One shot missed wide and the other high, and the possession returned to the Trojans.
Just a few minutes later, the Utes had yet another chance for a corner kick, but the shot was missed high and over the goal.
In the 58th minute, USC had a chance for a penalty kick, but the shot was blocked by Utah’s Carly Nelson. One minute later, they had a shot on an open goal, but it went off of the bottom of the right post.
At the end of regulation play, the score remained tied. The game then went into a 10-minute sudden death overtime period. Neither team scored in this time, so they entered double overtime.
Utah was inches from ending the game in the 14th overtime minute, but they were unable to get the ball past the Trojan defense.
This was Nelson’s seventh shutout of the season and the twelfth of her career. She also earned a career high of 11 saves in the game.
“I’m really proud of my defense, they were definitely a wall, and they helped me out a lot,” Nelson said. “I just came in with the mindset of nothing past me. This is my house, and I want to leave it all out there.”
The Utes will be back for their final conference game of the season in Boulder, CO next Friday.