Roles reversed in soccer win

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

In sports, roles are rarely set in stone. Sometimes the passer becomes the scorer, and vice versa.

That’s precisely what happened Sunday when Ute midfielder Kelly Isleib — who has garnered national attention for her passing prowess — scored her first goal of the season in the 88th minute, lifting her team to a 2-1 win over San Diego State (8-7-3) at Ute Field.

“For Kelly to score is huge, because I think she has the capability to become a big-time scorer,” coach Rich Manning said.

The assist came from forward Adele Letro, who has so often been the recipient of Isleib’s creative passes.

“Adele had a nice ball to me. I just beat a player and shot it,” Isleib said. “It was a pretty goal.”

Considering that Isleib has racked up 12 assists this season, it’s not surprising that the sophomore prefers assists to goals.

“I think I’d rather get an assist just because it’s more of a team thing,” Isleib said. “But goals are sweet too.”

Earlier in the match, the Utes (11-3-4) scored a goal their traditional way: Isleib to Letro.

In the 68th minute, Utah caught San Diego State goalkeeper Aubree Southwick out of position after Letro and Southwick went after a ball on the outskirts of the box. Realizing she was too far out, Southwick scrambled back to the goal, but Letro made her pay by blasting a rocket into the upper right corner. The play accounted for Letro’s 17th goal of the season.

“I saw Adele make a great run and just hit her one time,” Isleib said. “It was amazing. Adele’s shot was probably the best goal I’ve ever seen.”

The Utes lead held up for 11 minutes before Utah scored its second of three goals in the match. It’s just that this time, it was for the other team.

Ute defender Nicole Cardon tried to clear the ball, but instead tapped it back into her own net.

“Those can happen because you’re facing your own goal and it’s an awkward bounce,” Manning said. “Nicole played a great game. It was one of her best games of the year, and I was really disappointed that that happened for her.”

With 90 ticks left on the clock, it was looking like the Utes were bound for their eighth overtime game of the season and fourth in conference play.

But the Utes and their fans breathed a sigh of relief after the Letro-to-Isleib goal gave the Utes a 2-1 edge.

The Aztecs had a chance to tie it up at the buzzer on a corner kick, but the Utah defense made the soccer equivalent of a goal-line stand after the ball landed in the mouth of Utah’s goal. Both teams swarmed around it. The Utes fended off the Aztecs’ shots until time expired.

Utah’s victory keeps it in the hunt for one of the top two seeds going into the conference tournament.

“Our hope is, if we win next week and BYU loses at UNLV or ties, we could slip into that second spot and get a bye (in the first round),” Manning said. “That’s something that’s a reachable goal for us next weekend.”

The Utes will wrap up their regular season next Saturday against Wyoming on the road.

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Aaron Schwendiman

Adele Letro celebrates after scoring the first goal ?during the Utes’ 2-1 victory agains San Diego State on Sunday afternoon at Ute Field.