Utes head home after two bitter losses

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

The Utah soccer team might not be happy, but should be relieved to return home this week after its weekend in Oregon.

Once again, Utah came out on the wrong side of a nail-biter Sunday against Oregon State. After a full 90 minutes of scoreless soccer, extra time was needed to decide a winner in Corvallis, Ore., and it was the Beavers who netted the winning goal just seven minutes into the first overtime period. It was Beaver Najma Homidi’s second goal of the season that broke the tie and gave Utah its fourth consecutive loss.

“(The Beavers) came out and played a very aggressive game and were dynamic in the first half,” head coach Rich Manning said. “They were very deserving of the win.”

Not only did the loss add to Utah’s current losing streak, but it was the fourth time already the Utes have lost by one goal. It has been a season of close matches for the U, who have now already played in three overtime games this season. The Utes have also been involved in two games that were decided in the final 10 minutes.

“We have played a lot of good teams and been in lot of tight games,” Manning said. “We have just been coming up on the short end. The consistent feedback we are getting is that we have to be better in the periods of the match that matter most. We must find a way to elevate our game. If the same things continue to happen, then we are not learning from them and improving.”

It was the second loss of the weekend for the Utes, who fell to Oregon on Friday night in another closely contested match that ended 3-2 in favor of the Ducks. It was a goal off the boot of Allison Newton in the 83rd minute that sealed the win for Oregon. Newton was able to finish off a corner from about 5 yards out, despite the best efforts of Ute goalie Emalee Rogers. The Utes were unable to even up the score in the final seven minutes and settled for loss that set them back to 1-4.

“The thing that sticks out for me was that this game was a test of emotional strength and control,” Manning said. “We were on top of the game, they got scored on a counter-attack and that knocked us off our feet a little bit, but we bounced back very well. It’s really about being determined and finding a way to get back in the game. We are still developing our competitive muscles within the team, and tonight was a good test for that.”

The Utes will look to stop the bleeding Friday when they return home and welcome in-state rival Utah State, who are fresh off a 3-0 win over Northern Colorado.

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