Utah Soccer Scores Late in Road Victory Over Utah State

University+of+Utah+Womens+Soccers+midfielder+Courtney+Talbot+%28%2316%29+plays+in+the+match+vs.+Dixie+State+at+Utes+field+on+the+University+of+Utah+campus+on+September+12%2C+2021.+%28Photo+by+Xiangyao+Axe+Tang+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

Xiangyao Tang

University of Utah Women’s Soccer’s midfielder Courtney Talbot (#16) plays in the match vs. Dixie State at Ute’s field on the University of Utah campus on September 12, 2021. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah soccer team made the trip up to Logan today as they faced Utah State on the road. After a slow first half, both teams got a goal early in the second, keeping things tight for a majority of the match. However, Utah was able to tack on one more goal on late to emerge victorious, 2-1.

Both teams started the game off playing very aggressive and showing a lot of energy. But the heat was a large factor in this game, with temperatures around 80 degrees and no cloud cover. The heat noticeably affected the game, with both teams slowing down as the first half progressed.

As the game continued, both squads made plenty of substitutions in the first half, with 17 Utah players getting minutes, compared to Utah State’s 22. With all of the substitutions, Utah State was able to pick back up the high energy play that they started the game with. The Aggies were able to keep the pressure up while Utah seemed to be retaining possession and play it safe.

Through the first half, both sides were able to takes shots, with Utah putting two of them on goal and Utah State getting just one. The Utes also had a large advantage on corner kicks, taking four compared to Utah State’s one.

But none of the shots in the first half found the back of the net as the teams entered halftime tied 0-0. Utah State entered the second half still showing the same aggression that they had in the beginning of the game.

Utah’s strategy paid off early in the first half, with Taliana Kaufusi scoring in the 49th minute. She was able to work the ball up near the box and take a shot that slipped right through the hands of Diera Walton, Utah State’s goalkeeper.

Utah State followed not soon after, with a shot by Ashley Cardozo coming from far outside of the box and dropping perfectly into the top right corner. With the goal coming in the 51st minute, Utah didn’t get to enjoy their lead for long.

Both teams were able to get more opportunities to score, but neither team was able to score until Courtney Talbot placed a shot in the upper right corner off of a free kick opportunity in the 82nd minute.

Utah State soon got a free kick opportunity of their own which narrowly missed, hitting the near post. They also had another free kick minutes later, placing a shot on goal that was blocked by Chelsea Peterson.

Utah finished the game taking 13 shots and putting seven of them on the goal. Although they weren’t able to score from a corner kick, Utah was able to take nine of them compared to Utah State’s two.

The game came down to the wire, with Utah successfully fending off Utah State’s final efforts and holding onto their late lead.

“I am proud of our team for finding a way to win against a quality Utah State side today,” head coach Hideki Nakada told Utah Athletics. “There’s a reason they were undefeated coming into this match and they certainly made things difficult for us. We needed to be better in maintaining possession and finding open outlets to play out of their pressure as the game got too transitional for our liking. Two special goals won us the game today and again all the credit goes to our players for finding a way to get the job done.”

With the victory, the Utes improve to 5-3-1 on the season and haven’t lost a game since falling 1-2 to Butler on Sept. 5.

This game was Utah’s final game before a full schedule of Pac-12 opponents. Utah will start Pac-12 play on the road against Stanford, head coach Hideki Nakada’s former team. Stanford looks to be a tough opponent as they have gone 5-2 on the year with their only losses being 1-2 against No. 5 Duke and 1-2 (OT) against No. 2 North Carolina.

Utah has played Stanford 12 times, resulting in a record of 1-10-1. The team is currently on a six-game losing streak against the Stanford, a streak that Nakada looks to break. The game will be played at 7 p.m. MDT on Sept. 24.

 

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