Utah Soccer Struggles on the Road, Get Buried by No. 23 Stanford


University of Utah Utes Women’s soccer team defender Aleea Gwerder (9) gives a long-pass during an NCAA soccer match vs. the Stanford Cardinal women’s soccer team at the Ute Soccer Field in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Eric Jensen, Sports Writer


The University of Utah women’s soccer team went to northern California to take on nationally ranked No. 23 Stanford. The Utes were never able to get solid footing offensively and lost the game 0-5.

This was a game in which the Utes struggled to find possession in the attacking third of the field, never creating a real chance in the match.

Starting lineup: https://twitter.com/UtahWSoccer/status/1367971276715745283?s=20

First Half

Stanford was quick to get on the board early in Friday’s match. Catherine Paulson of Stanford pressed down the left side of the field, made a cut at the end line, proceeded to nutmeg a Utah defender before sending a beautiful pass across to Civana Kuhlmann for the goal.

Within the first ten minutes, the Utes had trouble getting any meaningful possession. It looked like a game of foosball for Utah as passes banged around in the midfield and there was an occasional long dump to the opponent or their own keeper.

The Utes also had very few offensive possessions, struggling to advance into the Cardinal half of the field. Meanwhile, Stanford had the most success attacking down the wings as Utes Haley Farrar and Brianna Pearson had their hands full early with a pair aggressive Stanford attackers. Notably, Pearson had a spectacular tackle within the 20 minute mark that prevented a promising attack by Stanford.

As the half progressed, the Utes got a few more touches, including a shot by centerback Kaylee Coatney. Possession was still an issue for the Utes in the early going but slowly improved.

In the 31st minute Stanford was awarded a corner where SJ Edwards made the initial save for Utah, but the rebound was pounced on by Maya Doms and the Cardinal went up 2-0.

Not long after, In the 36th minute, Utah had an opportunity off of their third corner of the game but it was swept up by Stanford’s goal tender, Katie Meyer.

The Utes had four set pieces within the first half and couldn’t capitalize on any of them. Great set piece teams in soccer win and win consistently, the Utes will have to improve on that if they want to beat big teams like Stanford.

Despite the early deficit, the Utah back line was incredibly strong, especially the centerbacks, Coatney and Ragan Fuller, were very good in the first half at not allowing easy pressure up the middle. Though the outside backs were weak early and at fault for the early goal, they improved drastically as the half went on.

Second Half

The Utes started off the second half strong as Ali Schinko made a good run down the left sideline within the first minute of the first half, applying some much needed pressure against Stanford. They continually brought an aggressive press in the first few minutes and kept Stanford pinned in early.

Edwards took the term “sweeper keeper” into her own hands in the sixth minute of the second half as she rushed to the top of the box to beat the rushing Stanford attacker to the ball. Edwards boomed the ball away and demonstrated great athleticism and decision making with the play.

As play went on, Utah originally lucked out in the 64th minute as the Cardinal was awarded a free kick right outside the box. A tackle by Pearson happened within the box, which should’ve resulted in a penalty, but was placed just outside the edge of the box. However, Sarah Paulson finessed the ball inside the right post and the Cardinal took a 3-0 lead.

While Edwards made several saves in the late minutes of the game, she was eventually subbed off, ending her day for the Utes. New keeper Megan Quiggle came into the game and conceded a goal to Stanford almost immediately as Samantha Williams of Stanford darted in and out of three different defenders and slotted the fourth goal of the day home for the Cardinal.

Williams would pounce again as time ran down to make it 5-0, scoring a header off a rebound. Williams took over the game in the second half and completely embarrassed Utah’s midfielders, who simply could not keep up with her.

At the end of the day the Utes just never got a foothold in the game and never got any real possession. Meanwhile, Stanford took advantage of poor marking from Utah’s midfielders and set pieces to put on a goal-show. For the Utes, they must now breathe and regroup for their next match as they were dominated by Stanford, 5-0.

A Look Ahead

With the loss the Utes fall to a 1-3-2 overall record and 0-1-1 in the conference. Utah will remain on the road as they face No. 10 Cal on Sunday, March 7 at 4 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 network.


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