Concluding their preseason run, the University of Utah is taking on the University of Nevada Reno at home this Sunday.
Most recently, the Utes fell to the University of Oklahoma on Thursday night in a 2-1 loss. Utah got the early lead, but it slipped away as the game progressed.
The first and only goal for the Utes came in the first two minutes of play from Paola Van der Veen off of a penalty kick. This was Van der Veen’s fourth goal of the season, and fourteenth of her career.
Utah had a chance to score an additional point off of a well-placed header from McKinley Crone, but the Sooner goalkeeper was able to grab the ball to prevent the goal.
Oklahoma scored their first of two goals shortly after Utah, to tie the game at one. Oklahoma’s Hailey Davidson scored her fourth goal of the year off of a ball that was not quite clear all the way out of Utah territory.
Oklahoma’s second goal came in the second half when Olivia Smith crossed a pass to Megan Reilly, who was able to head the ball in past Utah’s Carly Nelson.
The Utes pressured the Sooners at the close of the game but were unable to score an additional goal, and the game ended at 2-1 Oklahoma.
Utah will turn right around and face Nevada Reno in their final preseason game before starting Pac-12 play next week. This quick turnaround between games is unique for college sports, but the Utes are in the right mindset for it.
“We focus a lot on treatment and recovery,” said senior Max Flom. “We will do light bikes on stationary bikes, we will go in and see out a trainer who helps us with ice baths or normatec treatments to take care of our injuries and practice will be short and sharp to get us ready for the game, but not tire us out.”
It is important that the players are rested and ready for each of their games, and especially so because these preseason games are important in setting the tone for the remainder of their regular conference season.
Despite their previous losses, which have all been off of late goals, Utah is optimistic going into this game, and they are looking forward to ending their preseason games.
“I think that as long as we take what we have learned from previous games and apply it, we can do anything,” junior Holly Daugirda said.
Against Nevada, Utah is 1-1 at home. The last time they met, Utah fell 1-0 in 2011. Against teams from the Mountain West conference, the Utes are 86-27-13, and at home, they are 45-8-6. Their most recent Mountain West victory was on Monday against Utah State.
Utah will play Nevada Reno on Sunday, September 16th at 1 p.m. The game will be in Salt Lake City at the Ute Soccer Field.