Utes settle for tie against Cal

Injury-laden season blocked Utes’ goals

Utah’s 2-2 draw with California in Berkeley on Friday was a see-saw match.
“We were tested mentally and physically,” said head coach Rich Manning.
The Utes couldn’t hold on to an early 1-0 advantage but were able to come away with a tie against the Golden Bears and walk away with a hard-earned road point.
“It’s tough to make your own environment and energy when you’re not at home,” said sophomore Katie Rigby.
Both sides started off with strong attacks in the first half with promising buildups often occurring when Utah and Cal went down the field. The only missing piece — for the most part — was a decent shot to beat the keeper.
Junior Megan Trabert put the Utes ahead in the 29th minute on a corner kick. Senior Avery Jenkins hit the corner into the box, and it was tipped by the Bears’ keeper. Trabert ran in at the back post, and the tipped ball bounced off of her and into the back of the net to give the Utes the early advantage.
Cal would get its chance to equalize just three minutes later. A ball played across the box was hit from 10 yards out on goal, but junior keeper Lindsey Luke came up with a quick reaction save.
All of the Bears’ successful attacks were coming from the right side of the field and three minutes into the second half, an equalizer came after continuing to pound the Utes defense on that side. Sophomore Audrey Gibb, who defends that side, couldn’t catch a break the entire game.
“Cal really tested our defense,” Manning said. “Their tempo of play and the speed of their players were really impressive. When we had opportunities, three seconds later they were in front of our goal because of their speed and speed of play. It was really important for us to stay focused and to organize ourselves for that counter attack.”
The Bears used the momentum gained from the game-tying goal to slot another tally about 10 minutes later. Again coming from the right side, the Cal attacker flew past one Ute before cutting by the final defender and blasting the ball into the far post.
“We’ve been down before, and we’ve found ways to put the ball in the back of the net,” Rigby said.
Utah has a never-say-die attitude and continued to attack the Bears. The hard work paid off for the Utes in the 72nd minute when Rigby put away a cross from Jenkins.
“Scoring is just so fun,” Rigby said. “I was just really happy with how our team reacted to it all, and we fought the whole game.”
Utah came out as the aggressor as the match went into extra time, and freshman Mariah Elmer had a chance to win the game for the Utes in the first half of extra session.
Elmer received a pass in the box and pushed the ball by the defender. The freshman sailed the ball over the goal, and Utah’s chance of winning the game went with it.
“Ties always stink, but it’s better than a loss,” Rigby said.
The draw moves the Utes to 1-3-2 in conference play, which gives them five points. Utah will have to rack up many more points over the second half of Pac-12 play if it wants a chance at an NCAA tournament berth.
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