Utes Fall to Aggies

By By Kelsey Price

By Kelsey Price

Utah’s women’s soccer team (5-5-1) faced in-state rival Utah State (5-4-1) Thursday night under the lights of Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium. Kicking-off, the Utes maintained possession for the majority of the first twenty minutes of the game. However, what began as domination for the Utes soon gave way to deadlock, and eventually, defeat. The Utes fell to the Aggies 2-1 in golden goal overtime.

“The first twenty minutes went fantastically,” said head coach Rick Manning, “but after that we just started to lose it.”

The Utes’ midfielders and strikers played seamlessly well together the first twenty minutes, dribbling around the Aggie defense with cuts, fakes, and even a nutmeg.

Soon the Utes began to lose steam and were forced to make some early substitutions in the midfield. Players on both sides had to adjust their speed of play to the field size. As a Major League Soccer field Rio Tinto is considerably wider and longer than most women’s college fields.

Coach Manning said the size of the field had considerable affect on the play of the game. “It’s bigger than we’re used to. The size affected both teams. There just wasn’t a lot of poison in front of the goal.”

The first half of the game resulted in no goals. The Utes had plenty of opportunities with the corner kicks they were awarded, but the width of the field limited the effectiveness of the corners.

The Aggies drew first blood 13 minutes into the second half. Aggie defender Sydne Porter-Garner took a free kick that was headed into the top left corner of the Utes’ net by Stefani Shiozaki. However, the Utes responded quickly, mirroring with their own goal five minutes later. A header by freshmen Zoe von Gorder bounced off the post and past Aggie goalkeeper Molli Merril.

On defense, left fullback Nicole Cardon proved essential in stopping many of the Aggies’ opportunities. Cardon consistently stole away the ball when the Aggies attempted to dribble the ball wide towards goal.

Both teams grew frustrated as in the final fifteen minutes of play and despite breaking runs from both sides the score remained in a virtual deadlock at the end of regulation. Both teams had an identical number of saves (2), shots (7), shots on goal (3), and goals (1). Utah State out fouled the Utes 10-9.

Junior Lauren Hair8212;who led the Utes on shots (4)8212;received a yellow card in the 72nd minute. Hair set up many offensive opportunities with through balls and numerous crosses up towards the goal; none of which converted to goals for the Utes.

In overtime8212;which uses a golden goal rule in college8212;both teams regained much of the momentum that had been lacking in regulation. With just over a minute left, Aggie forward Shantel Flanary made a run on the right side of the field, drilling the ball from 25 yards out past Ute goalkeeper Emalee Rogers into the left corner of the goal. Overtime ended with a 2-1 win for the Aggies with 1:06 remaining.

Thursday’s loss was only the second the Utes have had against the Aggies. The Utes lead the series 10-2.

Non-conference play wraps up against Pepperdine (5-2-0) this Sunday. Kick-off is scheduled for 1p.m. at Ute Field. The Utes last met the Waves in 2007, which resulted in a 2-2 tie.

The women’s soccer team will open their regular season at BYU on October 3rd. The Cougars (7-2-1) are ranked No. 18, having defeated three ranked teams earlier this season (No. 9 West Virginia, No 15 Oklahoma State, and No. 20 Connecticut). The Utes last beat the Cougars, 1-0, at Provo in 2007.

Llennie Mahler

The Utes will finish up nonconference play this week with games against Pepperdine and a neutral-field battle with Utah State at Rio Tinto Stadium tonight at 7 p.m.