Soccer Tops SDSU at MWCs, BYU Next

By and

LAS VEGAS?They’ll take the win, no matter how they get it.

That was the general sentiment felt by the fifth seeded Utah players and coaches after the 3-0 defeat of fourth-seed San Diego State in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Championships.

For the most part, the game was a stalemate, staying even on both sides.

Utah coach Amy Winslow admitted her team was not sharp, but said it battled well.

“We played physical and aggressive?those are some things we’ve been lacking,” she said.

Utah got on the board about 21 minutes into the first half on a penalty kick by Missy Dennis. Bobbie Benegas was actually fouled on the drive inside the penalty box, but the two conferred about who should take the shot.

“I asked Bobbie [Benegas] if she wanted to take it, and she told me to take it, so I took it,” Dennis said.

“Missy is solid, (she) never misses a penalty kick. Everyone has full confidence in her,” said Benegas.

Utah took the 1-0 lead into halftime.

The second half was more of the same, as shots flew for both teams, but none of them went in. Amy Kofoed finally got the ball into the net on a break in which she got around the Aztec goalkeeper. That shot sealed the win for Utah.

Kofoed scored her second goal of the game and tournament later when Katie Tate stole the ball from a San Diego State player deep in Aztec territory. Tate crossed it to Kofoed, who put it past the second-string goalkeeper.

“We wore them down at the end of the game, so their backs were pushed up, and they didn’t have as much depth in the back,” Kofoed said.

“Everyone played their all for 90 minutes, and that’s why it ended up a 3-0 win,” Benegas said.

San Diego State coach Chuck Clegg praised the Utes for their efforts. “They’re a good team,” he said. “They just had that little bit of extra to get after us today.”

The Utah defense kept All Mountain West first teamer Kim Castellanos quiet.

“That was our goal [to shut her down],” said Ute defender Megan Maxwell. “I think we did a pretty good job.”

Up next for Utah is the re match against arch-rival and first seeded BYU, which defeated Utah five days ago 3 0.

The Utes are definitely thinking revenge. This will be the 11th time BYU and Utah have met. BYU is 10-0 against the Utes.

This time, it’s do-or-die.

“We have more riding on the line than we have before, so we’ll just give it our all,” Kofoed said.

BYU had a bye in the first round and will come into the game not having played since last Saturday’s win over Utah. It will only be the second time in two weeks the Y has played a game.

The Utes know they will have to be on top of their game to upset the Cougars, but feel they can win.

The Utes will be trying a new offense, which they are keeping secret from BYU until tomorrow.

Four of Utah’s players received some accolades in the Conference Championship Banquet held on Tuesday night. Kofoed and Shauna Gurr Bingham were named to the All-Mountain West Conference first team. Benegas and Amber Brower were named to the All-Mountain West Conference second team.

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