The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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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Eight straight?

By Tom Quinn

The best group of footballers on campus will put its seven-game win streak on the line when TCU comes to town to face the U women’s soccer team tonight. The Utes haven’t lost in more than a month and aren’t planning on starting anytime soon.

TCU, which is 5-7-3 overall and tied for sixth place in the Mountain West with a 0-2-2 conference record, hasn’t fared well of late. The Horned Frogs are coming off a 2-1 loss at UNLV last Sunday and a 1-1 tie with Wyoming at home one week ago.

“We are excited to get back home for our Friday game against TCU,” said U head coach Rich Manning. “We have played very well at home, and I’m sure the players will come out with some great energy.”

If the Horned Frogs have any hope of picking up their first conference win, they will need freshman forward Lizzy Karoly to be at the top of her game. Karoly leads the TCU offensive effort with six goals and two assists.

Other Frogs of note include Michelle Nguyen, who has three goals and three assists on the season, and Lauren Pope, who has found the back of the net four times and contributed one assist this year.

All three players will likely find the going tough against Utah’s stingy defense. Led by junior midfielder Melissa Crespo, the MWC’s Defensive Player of the Week, the Utes haven’t given up a goal in six games.

Utah’s forwards could find plenty of running room against a TCU defense that has allowed 17 goals in 14 games. Goalkeeper Katy Buchanan allows an average of 1.4 goals per game, and has posted only two shutouts on the season.

The series with the Horned Frogs is presently tied at 1-1, and the Utes could take the overall lead with a win tonight.

Following tonight’s home game against TCU, the Utes will hit the road for a Sunday afternoon showdown with San Diego State on the Aztecs’ home turf in sunny Southern California.

The Aztecs, who are currently in second place in the MWC with an overall record 6-7-2, are the team most likely to stand in the way of the Utes’ undefeated conference season. Last week, SDSU battled BYU to a 2-2 standstill in Provo two days after downing Wyoming 2-0 in Laramie.

SDSU’s primary strength is an offense that doesn’t know when to stop scoring. Forward Jen Mello, a sophomore, leads the MWC in scoring with eight goals, and has also contributed three assists so far in 2006.

Mello earned the MWC’s Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring three goals and adding an assist in two conference games last weekend.

Fellow underclassmen Erika Sutton and Heather Vandevanter have also made a habit of embarrassing opposing defenses. The former has tallied three goals and a team-best five assists, while the latter has three goals and three assists of her own.

“They have scored 10 goals in their first four conference games,” Manning said. “Clearly, they have a potent attack.”

More often than not, it is the Aztecs’ leaky defense that forces their forwards to put up such impressive numbers. Keeper Cat Burton allows an average of 1.3 goals per game and has been beaten 19 times in 14 games this season.

“We have had some great games with San Diego State over the past few years,” Manning said. “Sunday’s game will be no different.”

Kim Peterson

Adele Letro points out a hole in the Cougar defense in the Utes’ victory over BYU on Oct. 17. The Utes hope to beat TCU this Friday at 7

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