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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Soccer gets off on the right foot

By Tom Quinn

It looks like local soccer fans aren’t the only ones impressed with the way the U women’s soccer team performed in its first two conference games.

Forward Adele Letro and goalkeeper Ashley Mason were named the Mountain West Conference’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for their efforts in Utah’s two conference wins over Fall Break.

Letro, a sophomore from Davis, Calif., got the Utes off to a 2-0 start in conference play by tallying both goals in Utah’s pair of 1-0 wins over UNLV and No. 15 BYU. The two scores brought her season total to six, making her the leading goal-scorer in the Mountain West.

Although her individual talent is certainly worth noting, Letro is frequently the beneficiary of her teammates’ efforts.

“(Melissa) Crespo had it on the left side and started dribbling,” said Letro while explaining her goal against the Cougars. “I did an outside run like we practice every day, and she hit me perfectly. She did most of the work.”

Mason’s performance over the weekend was every bit as impressive as Letro’s. The senior keeper recorded a total of nine saves in the two conference matches and did an outstanding job of directing a defense that hasn’t allowed a goal in nearly three weeks.

“Ashley has been terrific,” said U head coach Rich Manning. “She does a great job of organizing the wall and managing the defense as a whole.”

In the contest against BYU, Mason’s acrobatic saves were all that prevented the Cougars from tying or even winning the game. BYU kept all kinds of pressure on the Utah defense in the second half; a lesser keeper would have almost certainly given up the equalizer.

“I was really nervous when I first came out to play the second half,” Mason said. “I couldn’t believe that there were still 45 minutes left. But I told myself to take it one minute at a time, and that helped me relax.”

Both Letro and Mason will have to be on top of their respective games tonight as the Utes put their undefeated conference record on the line against Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Falcons, who are 3-8-3 overall, are coming off a two-game road trip that netted them a 2-2 tie with San Diego State and a 3-1 loss at Wyoming, dropping their conference record to 0-1-1.

The Utes, who are 8-0-0 all time against Air Force, are looking for their fourth-consecutive win at Colorado Springs. Utah defeated the Falcons twice last season, once at Ute Field and once in Las Vegas in the quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament.

The Falcons’ most potent offensive weapon is forward Brittney Perkowski, a senior who leads the team with three goals, one assist and five points. Defender Jessica Yahn, a freshman, also has one goal and one assist.

The backbone of Air Force’s defense is sophomore goalkeeper Erin Wallace, who boasts a 1.31 goals-against average. She has made 56 saves while allowing 18 goals on the season.

Following tonight’s game against the Falcons, the Utes will have a short break before facing New Mexico in Albuquerque on Sunday.

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