Isleib Leads Utes to 1-1 Start

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

The women’s soccer team capped off a two game road trip to North Carolina Sunday by knocking off the Spartans of UNC Greensboro 2-1 in double overtime.

“We had an overtime game on Friday, and I feel like we started to run out of gas,” said head coach Rich Manning. “But we were able to hang in there and keep them off the scoreboard after the first half.”

The Utes took the lead when Katie Martinez connected off of a rebound in the 17th minute. After Kristin Player of UNC Greensboro tied the match in the 42nd minute, the Utes faced their second overtime in as many games.

“We’re still trying to find out roles on the team,” said Manning. “We’re working on formations and finding out who can help us at what spots.”

It wasn’t until the 105th minute that Kelly Isleib netted the winning goal into the bottom left hand corner from just outside the box, to give the Utes the lead for good. With only two previous career goals, Isleib has quickly doubled her career scoring total by scoring in both of the teams first two games. “Katie made a great play in overtime to win it for us,” Manning said. “We have a lot of talented attacking players and Kelly is a central player to our offense.”

There was a lot of talk coming into the season on the lack of game experience the team had, but up against its toughest test they have faced as a team, coach Manning was “very pleased”. “Along with the freshmen, we have six sophomores and a lot of players who haven’t gotten a lot of playing time in the past,” Manning said. “For a young team, we handled this kind of road trip with good composure.”

In both games over the weekend Utah opened up the scoring by striking first. Both against Wake Forrest and again versus UNCG, the Utes managed goals within the first twenty minutes. After looking worn out in the second half of Sunday’s game, coach Manning was pleased with the way his team responded.

“(Sunday) was a great example of when things aren’t going well, we hung in there,” Manning said. “I think our will power allowed us to do that.”

The Utes were able to respond to what coach Manning described as “a terrific second half by UNCG.”

“They put us under lot of pressure,” Manning said, “We have strength of character that can bend but not break, both teams tested us and we didn’t break.”

The team will now head back to Utah for a full week of practice before playing their next two games home at Ute Field.

For most teams as young as Utah, a two-game road trip to open the season could prove daunting, let alone one against a nationally ranked ACC team, followed up by a team that won its conference last season. But Utah responded in a way few could.

“We stayed composed under a lot of pressure, which was great,” Manning said.

After falling to nationally ranked Wake Forrest and finishing off UNCG in double overtime on Sunday, the Utes will look to keep the positive momentum

rolling against Arizona on Friday at 7 p.m. on Ute field.

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