Utes drop match, lose home streak to No. 18 Washington

Utah’s lack of finishing and forcing an attack was its downfall against No.18 Washington Friday night at Ute Field, losing the game 1-0. The loss snaps the Utes previous unbeaten home streak of 18 games.
“Overall, it’s been really disappointing not to get a result,” head coach Rich Manning said.
After the first half, Utah had the confidence that a goal would eventually come for it, but it never did. After the Huskies netted their goal, the momentum was too much and the Utes were never able to recover.
The first half was rather uneventful, besides a single opportunity to score from each side. It was a lot of back-and-forth play from both squads, as it was very technical with each side being able to string consecutive passes together. However, it seemed as if Utah had a slight edge over its counterpart with a better build-up.
“The first 35 minutes, we were great,” Manning said. “I felt like the first half was ours.”
The Utes only real chance came from a combo pass between freshman Natalie Vukic and senior Katie Taylor. Taylor’s shot went wide, but showed promise for Utah’s offense for the rest of the game.
The Huskies best chance of the half came with two minutes left. The shot was Luke’s first real test, but the keeper’s right hand pushed the shot just wide of the post. Despite the hard play, neither side was able open up the scoring going into half time.
“At halftime, I felt like we had the momentum,” Taylor said.
The second half started off much like the first – a lot of back-and-forth with no real promising chances.
Finally, Washington struck gold and found some luck on its way to the only goal of the game. After a cross that appeared to be an easy clearance for the Ute defense, the ball bounced right to the foot of the Huskie attacker. Her shot rolled toward the far post and an unlikely bounce off the post gave Washington the lead.
“It was just a couple unconnected passes and it led to them getting a cross in front of the net,” Taylor said.
After the goal, Utah was forced into attack mode. Its play seemed rushed as the Utes started to look worried. Easy passes went straight to the Huskies and chances that should have never been were being taken.
“Rich has used the analogy that we are ‘squeezing too tight’,” Taylor said. “I think sometimes when we get those opportunities, we get so excited we think we have to hit it as hard as we can. Sometimes it’s more about composure, and I think we lacked a little bit of composure tonight.”
Despite the loss, the Utes were extremely excited to finally be back on their own field and in front of their fans. With only four games left in the season, Utah will have to make some serious changes to salveage the season.
“It’s not over, we still have a lot more games in the season to prove things,” Taylor said. “I think we just need to work a little bit harder for each other and we’ll be fine.”
The Utes get their next chance to compete when they host No. 24 Washington State at 1:00 p.m. MT on Sunday.
 
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