In their third series on the road, the University of Utah soccer team traveled to Lawrence, Kansas to face the No. 19 University of Kansas. The Utes fell to the Jayhawks 2-1 in a match that saw double overtime.
This loss marks the first for Utah against Kansas, and it broke an eight-game winning streak against teams from the Big 12 conference in the last ten years.
The score was tied at zero until the final five minutes of regulation play, when senior Hailey Skolmoski netted her first goal of the 2018 season and 23rd of her college career. Kansas re-entered the game, however, and off a goal from Kate McClure, her fourth of the season, evened out the score at one.
McClure scored the go-ahead goal that gave Kansas the win in double overtime, bringing the game to an end with a score of 2-1. This victory is the fourth for Kansas in their preseason, leaving them undefeated as they move on to their next games.
The Utes played a solid game and had opportunities to shoot on goal, but the defense on both teams held strong and each kept the other scoreless for much of the game.
The front-line offensive players for the Utes were strong and pressured the Kansas defense on a number of occasions, keeping the defense on their toes.w Utah also took advantage of all opportunities in both periods of overtime, but they were unable to capitalize and pull out the win.
Utah had a chance to win it with a shot from Skolmoski in the 104th minute, but her shot was blocked and the Utes were unable to capitalize on the resulting corner kick. Even with two additional shots on goal by Utah, Kansas was able to stay strong and retain possession to keep the game moving.
“It was another learning experience this evening because we did a lot of things really well,” head coach Rich Manning said. “It just comes down to those little moments and believing in ourselves that we can win. It is just another step forward in the development of this team.”
Heading into this matchup, the Utes were sitting at a 1-1-1 record in the preseason, having come off of a weekend against UC Irvine in which they tied up the game in double overtime.
Against Irvine last weekend, freshman Makayla Christensen scored the first goal of her college career to tie up the game at the end, but the Utes still fell. Christensen’s goal was the highlight of a strong game by Utah as they battled against the Anteaters.
However, the team is still fighting to push through their preseason games and show off the athletic team that they know they are. With many returners on the squad, Utah is confident in their skills during this season.
“I thought we had players step up all over the field tonight,” Manning added. “The entire backline, Aleea Gwerdwe, Leachman, and Rushlow, along with Lulu Borges, played really well, and the same can be said for Nelson in goal. Our midfielders, Daugirda, Haylee Cacciacarne and Van der Veen did a nice job against the dynamic attackers of Kansas, a nationally ranked team. Up front, I was pleased with Ireland Dunn because she gave us a spark off the bench.”
Utah will return home for the first time in three weeks to face in-state rival, Brigham Young University, in the Deseret First Duel on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7pm on the Ute Soccer Field in Salt Lake City.