Back in business

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

The U soccer team snapped its three-game losing skid in a big way over the weekend, defeating Utah State 1-0 at Ute Field yesterday and Idaho State 3-1 in Pocatello Friday afternoon.

Neither game was as one-sided as the scores might suggest, but the Utes consistently found ways to win, something they’ll have to do more of once the conference season begins in two weeks.

Utah’s lone goal against Utah State was literally a team effort; two Utes and an Aggie had a hand in it. Freshman midfielder Kelly Isleib got the ball rolling by sending a picture-perfect free kick into the box, whereupon someone-although no one knows whom-deflected the ball into the net.

“Kelly hit a really nice ball, and somehow we scored off it,” said junior Whitney Dorsey, the closest Ute to the play. “All I did was block out my player, and I think she might have hit it in while trying to clear it.”

The Aggies have a history of playing their best against the Utes, and yesterday’s contest was no different. The USU defense played inspired soccer, holding Utah to only one goal despite conceding 11 shots and five corners.

“All that is credit to Utah State,” U head coach Rich Manning said. “They consistently gave more effort than we did for 90 minutes. Every time we play them I’m more impressed.”

The Utes had several chances to score before Isleib’s fateful free kick, but the ball simply refused to bounce their way. Adele Letro’s lone shot hit the far post after beating both the defense and the keeper in the 60th minute, and Melissa Wayman had two headers blocked in a 10-second span.

Both teams became increasingly frustrated as the game wore on, forcing the officials to work hard in order to keep things under control. The two teams combined for 39 fouls, and Wayman received a yellow card after a hard tackle in the 74th minute.

The Utes finished up a three-game road trip with 3-1 win over Idaho State. Utah’s forwards scored early and often, giving the team its first road win of the season.

Utah benefited from goals by Amanda Feigt and Jen Christoffers, both of whom found the back of the net for the first time in 2006.

“I was happy to see both Amanda Feigt and Jen Christoffers get their first goals of the season,” Manning said. “They have been playing some very good soccer, and I think there will be more to come from those two.”

Feigt scored the game’s first goal in the 26th minute off an assist from Letro. Letro crossed the ball into the box, and Feigt one-touched it past the keeper from five yards out.

The Bengals knotted the score just before halftime on a goal by Jennifer Loo, who scored her second goal of the season off a well-placed corner kick by Annamarie Hoffstetter.

Although the Utes out-shot the Bengals 6-2 in the second half, it took them until the 80th minute to break the 1-1 tie. Letro tallied her second assist of the afternoon, finding Christoffers in the box for the go-ahead goal.

With the win virtually in hand, Christoffers padded her stats by adding one more goal in the final minute. The sophomore forward made a highlight-worthy play, burying a shot from 35 yards out.

The Utes will wrap-up their non-conference schedule Friday night against Pepperdine before opening conference play the following Thursday versus UNLV.