Running the table

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

The magic number is down to one. The U women’s soccer team is one game away from wrapping up a second consecutive undefeated tour of the Mountain West, and all that stands between the Utes and perfection is Friday night’s home game against Wyoming.The Utes have rolled through the MWC this season, using an opportunistic offense in combination with an airtight defense to topple one team after another. If Wyoming’s forwards can find ways to score, they will be the first in more than a month. “This team has developed confidence,” said U head coach Rich Manning. “Obviously, not allowing teams to score will do that for you.”The Cowgirls, in contrast, are presently tied for third place in the MWC with an overall record of 7-7-3. Their manic-depressive season has been filled with ups and downs, making them somewhat of an enigma.Wyoming is coming off its biggest high of the season, a 1-0 win at UNLV last Sunday. With the win, the Cowgirls not only clinched a spot in the upcoming MWC tourney, they also recorded their first-ever win over the Rebels in Las Vegas.When the Cowgirls come to town on Friday night, they will be looking to make history for the second week in a row. Wyoming is 0-13 all-time against the Utes, and five of those defeats have come in Salt Lake City.In order to pull off the upset, freshman Emily Layton will need to control the midfield as well as she did last Sunday against the Rebels. In addition to scoring the game’s lone goal, Layton consistently disrupted UNLV’s attack.”Emily worked really hard on both the offensive and defensive end,” said Wyoming head coach Anne Moore. “She did a great job of putting pressure on (the Rebels), which was key.”Although Layton is Wyoming’s top offensive threat with three goals and three assists on the season, she isn’t the only Cowgirl who can score. Forwards Comfort Adetoye and Christine Nagel have each contributed two goals and three assists on the season.”We are excited to get back to Ute Field and test ourselves against Wyoming,” Manning said. “They have a true threat up front in Comfort Adetoye.”The Cowgirls’ defense, which was uncharacteristically porous one week ago in a 3-0 loss to the Cougars, has been solid for most of the season. Junior goalkeeper Ashley Sheppard has five shutouts on the year and boasts an impressive 0.99 goals against average. “They will be coming here with a very confident road attitude,” said Manning of the Cowgirls. “They move the ball very well and are always organized in the back. It should be a good game.”The Utes, meanwhile, will be counting on forwards Amanda Feigt and Adele Letro to keep Wyoming’s back line under constant pressure. Letro leads the team with 10 goals on the year, and Feigt needs one assist to break the Utes’ all-time mark of 21.

Lennie Mahler

Jen Christoffers tries to keep the ball in bounds for the Utes in Friday’s win over TCU. The Utes play Wyoming at home Friday before going on to the Mountain West Tournament.