Utes hope to break 2-game losing streak

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

With a disappointing Labor Day weekend behind them, the Utes turn their attention to a pair of road games this coming weekend.

First, head coach Rich Manning will lead his team into Eugene, Ore., to take on the Oregon Ducks before heading across the state to Corvallis to take on Oregon State on Sunday.

The Utes hope to end a two-game losing streak that started against Arizona in the season opener at Ute Field on Aug. 29. Although you couldn’t tell by the final score, Utah showed considerable improvement, especially along their young backline.

After giving up an early goal, the defense tightened and did not concede another goal until it was necessary to move more players into the attacking zone in the final 10 minutes in an effort to tie the game up.

“We are a young team, but we are making progress each game,” Manning said. “We have been fortunate that all four of our games have really come down to the wire so far. We have gained some good experience, and I think it will help us going forward.”

As Manning and the team look to move forward, they once again came up just short against a nationally-ranked Georgia team, who were coming to Utah for the first time since Manning took over in 2002. It was a late goal by Marah Falle in the 86th minute, her second of the game, which ensured the Utes their second-straight loss; the third of the season.

“The phrase that keeps coming to mind is “a work in progress,'” Manning said. “I feel very positive and confident in the steps that we have taken, and the experience we have gained. Whether it was fighting through two overtime games in sticky weather in the southeast or coming back quickly to tie that game right after Georgia scored, we have seen signs of a team with great character.”

For such a young team, and at this point in the season, character is just one of the great qualities they have shown. Although there is always room for improvement, Ute fans should be excited to see what this team is capable of as the players mature and get more game-time experience behind them.

“We have a brand-new team, but we already have four games under our belt. Hopefully we can perform a little bit better on this road trip than the last one,” Manning said. “I think all of our players are excited about the challenge of facing two Pac-10 teams in great facilities. It feels like we are hitting our stride, and this weekend will be a good challenge for us.”

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Lennie Mahler

Katy Reineke receives the ball during the Utes’ season opener last Friday. The women’s soccer team is headed to Oregon this week and hopes for a come back from last week’s two-game loss.