Mason, Marsh swamp the Cowgirls in Laramie

The U soccer team (11-4-2) won its fourth straight game on Saturday, defeating the Wyoming Cowgirls 2-0. Hailey Marsh scored her fourth goal of the season in the 28th minute, and Ashley Mason made nine saves en route to her fourth shutout of the year to lead the Utes to victory.

“The game boiled down to the fact that we finished our chances and Wyoming didn’t,” U head coach Rich Manning said.

“Hailey Marsh came off the bench and got us our first goal to get us going.”

Just as Marsh’s game-winning goal got the Utes going, Mason’s play in net kept them rolling.

“I think Ashley had one of her best games of the year, and came up with two or three really big saves to keep them out of the net,” Manning said.

“At the end of the day, it was those saves that won the game.”

Wyoming also contributed to the Ute cause, scoring an own goal in the 31st to stake the Utes a 2-0 lead.

“The soccer gods finally smiled upon us, and we got an own goal in our favor,” Manning said. “The breaks have a way of balancing out over a season.”

Unlike the Utes, who overcame an own goal Thursday by scoring two of their own, the Cowgirls were unable to score despite outshooting the Utes 11-5 in the second half.

“I thought we played well enough to win,” Wyoming head coach Anne Moore said. “Things just didn’t fall our way. We created more opportunities offensively, but we couldn’t find a way to finish. Today was a very frustrating loss for everybody.”

Much like the Utes’ victory over New Mexico last Thursday, Saturday’s game was heavily affected by the wind. The Utes scored both of their goals with the wind at their backs, and Mason was able to clear the ball with her powerful leg when the wind was in their face.

“The conditions we played in were tough all weekend,” Manning said.

“The team showed great character and maturity in dealing with that.”

The Utes improved to 3-1-1 in conference play, but can’t win the regular-season MWC title outright because San Diego State and UNLV both won over the weekend.

The Utes could win a three-way share of the conference title if they win their final regular-season game Saturday against archrival BYU and San Diego State and UNLV play to a tie.

The Cougars (6-9-4) are having an uncharacteristically bad year, but could still leapfrog the Utes in the conference standings with a win at Ute Field.

Going into the game, however, Manning is confident that his team is where it needs to be.

“I think the team has gone through a whole season together, and I feel like some of the younger players are starting to understand their responsibilities,” Manning said. “I think roles have finally been defined.”

[email protected]