Rival BYU ends Ute soccer win streak, conference title hopes on 2-1 victory

The U soccer team (11-5-2) lost its final regular-season game Saturday to BYU (7-9-4) by a score of 2-1. Ute forward Hailey Marsh tied the game at 1-1 with just more than 14 minutes left to play, but BYU regained the lead for good a minute later on a Brooke Bowman breakaway goal.

“Things got a little frantic and after our goal, things just never settled down,” U head coach Rich Manning said. “We tried to push out on the free kick to put them offside, but the linesman told me that a couple of girls didn’t push out. That’s one of the things we have to work on.”

The game-winning goal was not without controversy, as the Ute defenders adamantly contended that Bowman was offside. However, Marsh readily admits that BYU should never have gotten the opportunity.

“I think our emotions got to us for a second there,” Marsh said. “I also think the goal was questionable, it looked offside, but in either situation we have to be ready to score another goal, and we didn’t.”

The second half provided both teams with many chances. But solid defense, quality goalkeeping and bad luck kept the half scoreless until Amanda Feigt lofted a cross that Marsh was able to knee past Cougar keeper Erika Woodbury.

“It wasn’t a pretty goal, but to get something on the ball in the last 15 minutes is all you need,” Marsh said.

Prior to Marsh’s goal, several Utes including Feigt, Julie Herdic and Whitney Dorsey had several tremendous chances that sailed inches over the crossbar, or just wide.

“Towards the end of the game we had so many chances, but things just weren’t going our way,” Dorsey said.

The flurry of Ute chances was preceded by an overall lackluster Ute performance, which spanned most of the first half.

“I didn’t think we played our best game,” Manning said. “Whether it was nerves or just the pressure of playing BYU, we didn’t control the ball for the first 35 minutes. We’re going to have to go back and fix some things for the conference tournament. Bad finishing and ball possession are on that list.”

BYU completely controlled the first 30 minutes of the game, creating numerous chances, and then netting the games first goal 20 minutes in.

Cougar Corlyn Swenson capitalized on the second of her many breakaways, hitting a shot from about 10 yards out past the diving Ashley Mason and into the lower left hand corner of the net.

During this Cougar domination, the Utes looked flat, and seemed incapable of any cohesive offensive attack.

“For 30 minutes, I felt like we didn’t play,” Manning said. “We didn’t connect, we didn’t get to the ball, we didn’t defend well.”

With the victory, BYU captured third place in the MWC, and pushed the Utes back to fourth. Both teams begin MWC tournament play on Wednesday in Provo.

The Cougars snapped the Utes’ four- game win streak and their string of three straight wins against BYU. BYU’s record in the series is 13-3.

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