Team will face tough OSU in last road game

By By Matt Sanchez

By Matt Sanchez

It’s the last road game of the season for the Utes8212;and it’s as important as ever.

The women’s soccer team (8-8-2, 3-2-1 MWC) is looking to build some momentum before starting postseason play next week. The Utes are traveling to the Sooner State for a nonconference battle tonight with Oklahoma State (11-7-0).

Both teams have clinched a spot in their respective conference tournaments already, but head coach Rich Manning said he knows this will be an opportunity to gain experience.

“There are a few important outcomes from going to Oklahoma State that can benefit our squad,” Manning said. “First, we get to play against a really good team. Second, we will see a different style of play than we do in the Mountain West Conference. And third, we can test out some new ideas and try some different players out.”

The Utes are 3-1-1 in their past five games and are the No. 3 seed in the MWC. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

“We are staying focused on this trip to Oklahoma,” said redshirt sophomore Erin Dalley. “They are a very good team and play tough on both sides of the ball. It’s important for us to come out with energy and get some momentum to finish the season.”

The Cowgirls have won four straight games, including three at home. OSU has suffered six of its seven losses this season by only one goal. OSU and Utah have faced three common opponents this year. Oklahoma fared slightly better, losing to BYU and Colorado but defeating Utah State, and the Utes lost to all three, twice falling in overtime.

Annika Niemeier leads the Cowgirls on offense with eight goals and four assists for 20 points. Five other players have scored four goals apiece, including Siera Strawser and Kyndall Treadwell, who have added three assists each. Strawser is five goals shy of the all-time OSU mark.

Twelve players have scored for the Cowgirls, and the team has outscored its opponents 35-13 this season.

On the defensive end, Adrianna Franch has played most of the OSU minutes at goalkeeper. Franch has only allowed 11 goals this season, has made 49 saves and has eight shutouts to her credit.

Oklahoma is led by head coach Colin Carmichael, who has been with the program in some capacity since its inception. Carmichael has led OSU to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2006-2008) and was named the Big 12 Coach of the year in 2008. In four years leading the Cowgirls, Carmichael has amassed a 70-23-13 record.

“OSU is a really good team,” Manning said. “That is the kind of squad we could see in the MWC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament. There is a lot of good value in this game for us.”

The Utes will finish their regular season at home by playing host to Air Force on Saturday.

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