Soccer Battles SDSU Today

By and

LAS VEGAS?To begin its quest for the NCAA Tournament, the Utah soccer team must first do battle with San Diego State University?a team which gave Utah its first conference loss this season?today at the MWC Tournament.

The Aztecs defeated Utah 2 1 in overtime, on Oct. 11.

The Utes acknowledge that they simply were not prepared for that game mentally. The loss was the first of two straight in conference play, the next coming to UNLV two days later.

The Utes are thinking payback right now. They know they are the ones who control their own destiny. They are confident they can down San Diego State.

“We’re out to beat them because we lost earlier in the year to them,” said Megan Maxwell. “It’s our chance [for revenge].”

If the Utes win, they’ll have another rematch. This time it will be with BYU, which shut out Utah 3-0 last Saturday.

If the Utes lose, it will be a quick trip to Sin City, as they will be out of contention. The single-elimination tournament is all there is left for most of the teams in the Mountain West Conference.

The Aztecs are led by Kim Castellanos, whose 10 goals were tied for the most in the conference (Utah’s Amy Kofoed and UNLV’s Anita Pedford also scored 10 apiece).

On Oct. 11, the Utes and Aztecs battled very hard, in a game that saw 36 penalties called. The first half ended in a 0-0 tie. Arinda Alvarez scored first on a pass from Castellanos in the second half with less than two minutes to go.

Utah’s Katie Tate answered right back with a goal of her own off an assist from Shauna Gurr-Bingham to put the game into overtime.

The extra period was fought hard once again, but the Utes committed a costly foul. Danielle Small was awarded a free kick, which she converted, giving the Aztecs the win.

Revenge is on Utah’s mind right now. The field will be a neutral field, something they didn’t have in the earlier matchup.

However, Utah’s Alli Cerruti said that really doesn’t matter.

“A neutral field is not going to matter,” she said. Critics may say Utah simply can’t win away from Ute Field. They were 7-0 at Ute Field, but 3-6 away from it. Cerruti says that doesn’t bother the Utes any more.

“I think we’ve gotten past that. In Vegas, we will all mentally prepare,” she said.

The Utes seem confident as they prepare for the biggest week of the season.

“We’re not done with the season,” said Heather Wilhelm. “We’ve just got to go out and play and get things done.”

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