Soccer Set to Battle Wyoming

There is no runaway soccer team in the Mountain West Conference. Every team has a shot at the conference title and the No. 1 seed in the conference championship.

That means that Utah is in control of its own destiny. In previous years, BYU has run away with the title. After the Cougars were downed 1-0 by New Mexico, all Mountain West teams have either one or two losses.

“That’s just a statement about the parity this year,” said Ute assistant coach Jim Winslow. “On any given day, anybody can beat anybody.”

“This year, everybody’s a Cinderella team,” said senior Amy Kofoed.

With three more conference games to go, two of them at home, the future is looking brighter than it was last week for the Utes.

Wyoming comes to town this afternoon for a duel with the U, and the Cowgirls make up a team not to be taken lightly.

Don’t let a 2-8-3 record and being winless in the conference at 0-1-2 fool you. Wyoming is looking to be a spoiler. It is team that can play well.

Of Wyoming’s eight losses, six of them have been by one goal. Five of its 13 games have seen an overtime period. The Cowgirls have yet to win a game in overtime, being 0-2-3.

Coming off a tie against San Diego State and an overtime loss to UNLV, both in Laramie, Wyo., the Cowgirls are looking to get into the win column.

“They will come here ready to play us hard, and we need to be prepared,” said U head coach Amy Winslow.

But through it all, the Utes are just plain happy to play at home.

“We’re just excited to be at home, in front of our home crowd,” Kofoed said. “Hopefully, we’ll get three wins in a row. “

Utah is undefeated at home, and its defense has only allowed one goal in five games at Ute Field. The Utes’ defense has been remarkable when playing in front of the home crowd.

“Our defense is awesome,” said Ute goalkeeper Lynnsey Asay, who has recorded four shutouts this year. Asay noted that the Ute defenders, like Lesa Zollinger and Maren Harper, keep the ball away from the goal, making Asay’s and fellow goalkeeper Courtney Hills’ job much easier.

“It’s hard to get by them. They make the other team have a rough time getting shots off,” Asay said.

Amy Winslow says that even midfielders and forwards need to help on defense.

“Our backs and goalkeepers don’t look good if the forwards and midfielders aren’t working hard defensively,” she said.

The only thing that has kept Utah from beating all of its opponents is playing a full, 90 minute game. When the Utes have been beaten, it has been because one of the halves was less than superb.

“We’re working on coming out with intensity and putting a full 90 minutes into the game,” Asay said.

Jim Winslow said that the Utes are past learning new things. “It’s just going over the things we need to do,” he said. “As long as we do those things, we’ll be in good shape.”

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