Soccer Falls to BYU at MWCs

By and

LAS VEGAS?For the 11th straight time, the Utah soccer team was not able to beat BYU. So for the second straight year, the Utes were ousted from the Mountain West Conference Championships by the Cougars. This time, the final score was 2-0.

BYU scored its first goal 11 minutes into the game, when Lydia Ojuka scored off a corner kick and Ute goalkeeper Lynnsey Asay was pulled out of position. BYU scored again in the first half when Ojuka scored again. Aleisha Cramer shot the ball for BYU, it bounced off the hands of a diving Asay right to Ojuka, who kicked the ball into the goal. That also came off a corner kick.

Despite those two goals, Utah’s defense was phenomenal and forced BYU to play very hard. In the end, the Utes still don’t feel like they should have lost.

“I think this is the best we’ve ever played BYU, and we fought them to the end. I think we are a better team than they are,” said Shauna Gurr Bingham. “We just got unlucky and we didn’t finish up top. That’s all it comes down to.”

The second half saw Utah outplaying BYU, but not being able to put the ball in the net.

“We didn’t get enough dangerous balls in,” said Ute assistant Jim Winslow. “We had more opportunities than we have in the past, but when you’re playing a team of this caliber, you have to get more dangerous shots.”

Head coach Amy Winslow was pleased with her team’s performance, despite losing. She said her team gave a total effort.

“In the second half, not only did we give 100 percent, but we did it intelligently,” she said. “In the second half, they left their hearts on the field. That’s the best they’ve battled all season.”

“The second half we dominated. We just couldn’t put the ball in the net,” added Heather Wilhelm.

The Utah defense played extremely well, limiting the number of shots BYU was able to get.

“I was very happy with our team defense,” said Winslow. “As much as we wanted to win, we ended the tournament on a good feeling.”

“We played better tonight than we did against San Diego State in a win,” said Jim Winslow. “I’m really pleased with how they played. The kids that came in did a great job.”

Injuries have plagued Utah the whole season. Not having key players Thursday night certainly didn’t help the Utes’ hope for an upset.

With five minutes to go in the second half, Ute midfielder Esther Imotan collided with a BYU player while going for the ball in the air. Imotan lied motionless for several minutes before she was taken off the field on a backboard and into the UNLV training room. At last check, she was reported to be doing “OK,” and was able to move her feet, hands and other bodily parts.

“I started crying [when Imotan went down]. When they pulled the stretcher out, it felt like it wasn’t real,” said Cortney Johanson. “We were all scared. I hope she’s OK.”

The Utes can still make the NCAA Tournament. It helps that the NCAA expanded the field to 64 teams instead of 48. The Utes will find out early next week if they make it.

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