Women’s Soccer Drops Season Opener Versus No. 10 BYU


The University of Utah’s Women’s Soccer team huddle up prior to the start of the game in an NCAA Women’s Soccer game vs. San Diego University at Ute Field in Salt Lake City, UT on Sunday September 22, 2019.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Carlos Padilla


The University of Utah women’s soccer team kicked off the 2021 season facing archrival No. 10 Brigham Young University. After a postponement due to COVID-19 concerns, the Utes were finally in action for their 2021 soccer debut. 

While the Utes put forth a great effort against their in-state nemesis, BYU proved too much for the Utes and the Cougars put the game away with a score of 5-1.

The Cougars came out ready to play, scoring on their third shot in the fourth minute of the game. 

Utah was quick to answer BYU’s initial offense with Anna Escobedo scoring Utah’s first goal of the season in the 18th minute, with the help of an assist from Hanna Olsen.

While Utah leveled the playing field, it would not last long. BYU would go on a hot streak, racking up three goals before halftime. Not only did the Cougars score three goals, but they did it all within 10 minutes. 

Although the Utes were unable to score on BYU’s Cassidy Smith, several Ute players were able to get shots on goal, including Taliana Kaufusi, Avery Brady and Brianna Pearson. 

After returning to the pitch, Utah began emphasizing defense and they were able to shut down BYU in the early stages of the second half. While Utah’s offense attempted to get themselves back in the game, Smith proved stifling and did not allow a single Utah goal. 

As the game wore on, Utah continued to get shots on goal, yet found themselves unable to convert. While the Utes continued to play more stifling defense in the second period, the Cougars were able to tack on another goal in the 74th minute. 

Utah would fail to convert the rest of the game. 

While dropping their first game of the season, Utah did have some spots to build off. The Utes had a total of 10 shots, four of those being on goal. Utah’s new goalkeepers, SJ Edwards and Chelsea Peterson, who have the unenviable task of replacing phenomenal goalkeeper Carly Nelson, had a total of five saves in their season-opener. 

While the Utes started their season in the negative column, Utah fans should not begin to worry just yet. For starters, the Utes opened up their season with a top 10 team in the country. BYU is a consistently high-performing offense. 

Second, the Utes have experience this year. With over half their roster being upperclassmen, Utah fans should expect their team to limit mistakes and be competitive in the majority of their games. 

Utah has also had extra time to prepare for their season. With the COVID-19 induced postponement, Utes players have had extra time to condition and study. With the extra time off, combined with the plethora of experience on the roster, Utah is poised to perform better than their 8-9-4 record last season. 

Lastly, as the old saying goes, the most progress made for any sports team is the leap from the first week to the second. While Utah was facing a high-powered team, they also had plenty of first-game mistakes and game speed adjustments that took place. Utah should be able to clean up their mistakes and play a much cleaner game. 

The Utes next game will take place on Thursday, Feb. 11 in the warm weather of St. George as they take on the Dixie State Trailblazers. 


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