Utes drop “embarrassing” game to WSU

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Erin Burns

Things went from bad to worse this weekend for Utah. The Utes had a chance to redeem their weekend after a loss to No. 18 Washington on Friday, but Sunday brought even more disappointment.

“It was a farmers market of bad soccer plays,” said head coach Rich Manning. “Very embarrassing to have people come out to watch us play and put on a performance like that.”

No. 24 Washington State got an early lead and never looked back, defeating Utah 4-2 on Sunday at Ute Field. Ute senior Avery Jenkins brought a glimmer of hope to the home team after her goal, but the moment was short-lived, as the Cougars put in another two goals and ran away with the victory.

Utah did not look like the team it was at the beginning of the season. Its passing was off, the chemistry wasn’t there, the communication was bad and everything was rushed. Manning had a hard time explaining what went wrong.

“I don’t know what I saw,” Manning said. “I don’t have answers right now. That was poor soccer, poor decisions and poor communication for a lot of the game.”

A big concern from Manning was the decision-making from his players, both on and off the ball. Several times during the contest Manning was heard yelling “pass” when one of his players was holding the ball too long.

“I felt like we didn’t play well together as a team,” said junior Megan Trabert.

In the second half, Manning moved his formation to a three defender back line instead of four in an attempt to free up a player for the offensive side. It had some effect but not enough to change the outcome of the match.

The Utes started off the season going unbeaten in their first 10 games and held an unbeaten streak at home of 18 games. The next seven games saw Utah collect only one win, and the unbeaten home streak has been snapped.

Manning said going into this weekend that he thought his team still had a chance to make a postseason run despite only having one win in the Pac-12. After this weekend, the postseason looks to be a pipe dream.

“We need to go back to the drawing board and figure it out,” Manning said. “We can’t afford a performance like that at this time of year. If we want to reach our goals, we gotta perform better. And that’s not acceptable.”

The efforts of Manning to restart his team might be too late, as there are only three more games left in the season. This past weekend took its toll on the Utes — the disappointment was evident on every Utah face.

One thing is for sure, the Utes have to make a serious change if they want to shake this losing streak.

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