Soccer teams finishes road-trip with a draw

By By Natalie Dicou and

By Natalie Dicou

Any time Utes and Cougars meet up, it’s going to be a battle.

This time it was the Washington State Cougars causing problems for the U women’s soccer team.

The Utes (1-2-1) fought to a 3-3 tie on the road in Pullman, Wash., in the final match of their season-opening four-game road swing Sunday.

The Utes scored a season-best three goals, despite playing what head coach Rich Manning described as “our worst offensive performance” of the year.

“We didn’t have very many chances and we made them count,” Manning said. “We were probably a little fortunate to get a tie.”

The Utes jumped out to an early lead when Adele Letro scored in the second minute off a pass from Kiley Jones.

“After we scored, I felt like we relaxed a bit,” Manning said.

The Utes took a 1-0 lead into halftime on the road against a Washington State team that has yet to lose this season.

The Cougars evened the game at a goal apiece in the 55th minute, but the Utes responded, taking a 2-1 lead off a Lauren Hair goal assisted by Katy Reineke.

But for every goal the Utes scored, the Cougars had an answer.

Letro pounded her second goal of the match past Washington State standout goalkeeper Brynn Bemis off a pass from Kelly Isleib late in the game, giving the Utes a 3-2 lead.

But once again, the Utes couldn’t keep the advantage. With less than six minutes remaining in the match, the Cougars found the back of the net, forcing overtime. After two scoreless 10-minute extra sessions, the match ended in a draw.

“I think we fought hard,” Manning said. “We defended hard as a group and I think we were opportunistic.”

Manning has been disappointed by the Utes’ recent play defensively.

“We don’t look confident and organized,” he said.

Over the past few years, the Utes have dominated on defense. But this year, four new defenders have stepped into starting roles.

“We gave up seven goals in the past two games,” Manning said. “(Defense has) never been a weak spot for us.”

The Utes are looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd, and they’ll finally get that chance on Friday when the Utes face off against Idaho State at Ute Field.

“With our travel schedule, we haven’t been able to practice much,” Manning said. “We’ll have three good days of practice.”

The Utes defeated Idaho State in the NCAA tournament last year.

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