Utes come off winless in two home games

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

The Utes opened their 2008 home field campaign this Labor Day weekend as they welcomed Arizona and No. 19 Georgia onto Ute Field.

It was a tough weekend for Ute fans to swallow, as the team was on the wrong end of a 4-0 shutout at the hands of Arizona on Friday and gave up a late goal Sunday afternoon to fall 2-1 to the Bulldogs.

After a first half that saw the Utes dominate ball position as well as shots on target, Georgia struck first when Marah Falle put one in the back of the net off a failed clearance by Utah in the 50th minute. After the goal, it didn’t take long for the Utes to level the score sheet. In the 53rd minute, Chelsea Forbes slid home the pass from Kellie Woodfield from just inside the box to equalize at one apiece.

“When the ball came to me, I was just thinking I had to get a goal,” Forbes said. “I had to hit the back of the net. Lauren (Hair) did a great job to dribble through their defense and get it across to Kellie, who played it back to me.”

The Bulldogs weren’t done yet. In the closing stages of the game in the 86th minute, Falle would tally her second score of the game with a powerful header from the middle of the box past a diving Emalee Rogers. Falle’s brace proved to be the game winner, with time expiring minutes later, leaving Utah stunned with its third loss of the season.

“I think Georgia did a good job crowding up the midfield and taking our passing lanes away,” head coach Rich Manning said. “We started to fatigue a little bit toward the end, and they scored a fantastic goal, so all the credit to UGA there.”

The Utes came off a 4-0 shutout to the Arizona Wildcats two nights prior. Arizona struck quickly in the second minute when Renae Cuellar made good on the through-ball from Karina Camacho. However, after falling behind early, Utah managed to play solid defense and keep the game within reach. Going into the 80th minute, the Utes made an aggressive tactical move by throwing bodies forward into the attacking area in an attempt to tie it up, but doing so left them more vulnerable at the back.

“We went to three in the back trying to tie up the game and allowed three more goals,” Manning said. “We took a risk and paid the price. We haven’t trained in that formation at all this year, but we gained valuable experience by playing it.”

Although Manning and his team came away winless in their first home set of the season, there were positives to be taken away from the two games. The team got a chance to work on a new formation at game-time speed. The defense improved dramatically over the weekend, and, most importantly, the younger players on the team were able to get more quality minutes at the college level, along with valuable experience.

The Utes head back on the road later this week to Eugene, Ore., to take on the University of Oregon on Friday. The next time you can catch the Utes in action at home will be Sep. 12, when they host Utah State at Ute field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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Lennie Mahler

Lauren Hair struggles to maintain balance during the Utes’ Friday night 4-0 loss to the Wildcats at Ute Field.