Utes hope to keep wins coming at home

By Matt Sanchez, Staff Writer

The women’s soccer team is off to its best offensive start since the 1996 season. The Utes have been firing on all cylinders, scoring nine goals in their first two games, beating Utah Valley University 6-0 in their home opener and Cal State Fullerton 3-1 on the road.

The Utes now return home for their next five games, beginning Friday at 7:30 when No. 22 Santa Clara comes to Salt Lake City. The Utes will then welcome Cal Poly to Ute Field on Sunday for a day game at 1 p.m.

The Utes were dominant in their home opener, finishing with 31 shots on goal to UVU’s nine.

“I could tell we were all pumped in the locker room and we’ve been working hard this offseason,” said senior midfielder Kelly Isleib. “It’s a great first step and hopefully this will happen more and more.”

Isleib, the all-time assist leader in school history (23), has netted two goals and recorded two assists thus far and is primed for a great season.

“She’s going to be as much of a threat scoring as much assists this year,” said head coach Rich Manning. “She is a maestro on the field and her shooting and confidence are on.”

Going into the Cal State Fullerton game, the Utes had never beaten the Titans, going 0-1-1 in their only two previous meetings. They took advantage of their opportunities and moved the ball like a fearless veteran team.

“CSF played us very physically and moved the ball well,” Manning said. “I thought we defended well and when an opportunity arose, we took it.”

Junior forward Lauren Hair and sophomore forward Chelsea Forbes have also been standouts in the first two games. Hair has scored one goal and assisted on two others, and Forbes has netted two goals, one in each game.

“Our team speed is a lot better and our younger players got some great playing time last year,” Manning said. “So we are definitely more skillful and faster.”

Midway through the first half of the UVU game, Manning emptied his bench and the team scored three more goals.

“It’s awesome for everyone to get in because our depth is so important because you never know who will have to step up,” Hair said.

Utah has yet to allow a goal during game play. The lone goal put past sophomore goalkeeper Hannah Turpen was on a penalty kick late in the CSF game.

After the nearly flawless start, the Utes have received votes in soccertimes.com Top 25 Coaches Poll this week. The last time the Utes were ranked in the poll was after the 2006 season, when they were No. 21.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for winning games,” Manning said. “I’m sure in time that with the schedule we are playing, if we continue to do well, we can crack the Top 25. I think coaches around the country are aware of Utah’s history of putting quality teams on the field over the years, and that probably is a factor as well.”

The team is focused and eager to face the nationally ranked Broncos on Friday.

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Julian Gomez

Allie Woodfield and Morgan Skeen celebrate after the team?s 6-0 win over UVU. Utah will play its next five games at home, starting with Santa Clara and Cal