Soccer: Utah Defeats North Dakota State, Ties School Record with Goals


Max Flom (11) pushes off her opponent during the Utah Utes Women’s soccer 9-0 victory over the North Dakota State Bisons at Ute Soccer Field in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Aug. 27, 2017. (Cassandra Palor | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Emilee White

It was early goals for the No. 18 University of Utah soccer team that gave it the momentum it needed on Sunday, Aug. 27 against North Dakota State on the Ute Soccer Field. After taking the lead in the first half, the Utes remained in control and finished the game 9-0 over the North Dakota State Bison to remain undefeated on the season.

“I was really proud of the team [today],” said head coach Rich Manning. “Some of the things we worked on in Thursday’s practice was just being a little more patient and reading the game a little bit better in front of their goal. The attacking part of the field was a big focus, and I thought we did a really good job of that. Obviously, we scored a lot of goals so we did good. I’m a coach, so I’m always going to find one or two things that need improvement, but overall, there was some really good play. We had a lot of people who played well.”

From the beginning, the Utes came out strong against the Bison and took chances when they had them. Midfielder Paola van der Veen had the first shot of the game followed by forward, Natalie Vukic with her own shot, and while both were deflected, it was forward Hailey Skolmoski who made the first goal of the game. Skolmoski followed with another goal three minutes later, giving her team a 2-0 lead.

Vukic had another chance to get a goal for the Utes, and the ball found the back of the net for her. With the Utes leading by three, Skolmoski extended the lead to 4-0 with another goal at the end of first half.

Utah extended its lead seven minutes into the second half as defender Aleea Gwerder made her first career goal.

“[Making my first goal] felt really awesome,” Gwerder said. “It was a long time coming.”

Van der Veen followed her teammate with her own goal and quickly shot another ball in the back of the net, bringing the Utes lead to 7-0 with 24 minutes left in the match. Skolmoski maintained possession of the ball going into the 77th minute of the final half, and she found the back of the net with her fourth goal of the match to tie the single game mark for goals scored. With the clock winding down, forward Ella Ballstaedt added her name to the list of Utah players who made goals for the team.

With the victory, the Utes tied the school record with goals scored, and they earned back-to-back shutouts as they also shut down Utah State.

“I feel like we played really well,” Gwerder said. “We kept good possession of the ball, worked on our possession in the final third to really open up speed so we could score. There are always improvements for us to make including possession, playing quick, making sure we are completing our passes and just moving forward.”

Up next for the Utes, they will head to Los Angeles, California for a matchup against Loyola Marymount on Friday, Sep. 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. MT.

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