Soccer: No. 24 Utah Hits Road to Face Washington

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Cassandra Palor

Janie Kearl (5) kicks the ball down the field during the Utah Utes Women’s soccer tie game versus University of Southern California at Ute Soccer Field in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday, September 23, 2017. (Photo by Cassandra Palor/ Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Emilee White

In its first Pac-12 game of its season, the No. 24 ranked University of Utah soccer team (5-2-2, 0-0-1 Pac-12) took on the No. 10 ranked USC Trojans on the Ute Soccer field this past Saturday. Both teams failed to get a goal, and the game ended in a 0-0 draw in double overtime.

Max Flom said the game against the Trojans was fueled by revenge because of the history behind the two teams. USC knocked the Utes out of the NCAA tournament last year. While a draw wasn’t something Flom and her team were going for, they wanted the entire victory to themselves, she was still proud of the way Utah played.

“I thought we looked really clean, and I feel really confident going forward into our upcoming games,” Flom said. “Obviously we need to finalize on some of our opportunities in front of the goal, but our defense really stood out to me. Carly [Nelson] had a really great game and like I said, I feel good about the way we played.”

Settling for a draw isn’t something that Flom thinks will affect her team’s mindset moving forward. The Utes have the mentality of focusing on the task at hand so whether they would’ve walked away with a win or loss against USC, Flom said the result wouldn’t have troubled them heading into their next match. Flom added that the outcome against the Trojans though has made the Utes hungrier to win.

For head coach Rich Manning, the way his team played over this past weekend has him looking forward to what’s to come.

“USC is a fantastic team and it was a heavyweight bout,” Manning said. “We were going toe-to-toe, and I was really proud that we competed well, we had a lot of energy, we were ruthlessly stubborn about not wanting to give up a goal and we did some good things offensively. The exciting thing for me is we competed well with a top-10 team, and I think we can play better so I’m excited about watching my team improve.”

The Utes will take on Washington in Seattle next on Thursday, Sept. 28, for their first conference game on the road. Manning said he doesn’t think his team has reached its full potential yet, but playing Washington will be another opportunity for Utah to come together and show what it can accomplish when working as one. Leading up to its match against the Huskies, Utah has spent its time and effort strengthening specific areas.

“At practice, we have been doing a lot of technical work to play through the middle and out wide,” Flom said. “We know the Washington team is very athletic and like to high pressure [their opponents] a lot so we are just trying to focus on keeping the ball and finish our crosses when it comes to game time.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MT.

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