Utah Soccer Wins Thrilling Match Against Arizona

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Xiangyao Tang

The University of Utah Utes Women’s Soccer team’s midfielder Madeline Vergura(#33) takes on the Idaho State Bengals at the Ute Soccer and Lacrosse Field in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Max Valva, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah women’s soccer team kicked off their first Pac-12 game against the University of Arizona this past Friday night. Utah (4-2-2) staged a comeback victory against the Wildcats (3-2-2) at their home Ute Field. The Utes gave up a first-half goal, however they fought back, scoring two goals to win 2-1

The game was not scoreless for long, as in the 13th minute Arizona’s Gianna Christiansen received a ball from teammate Sami Baytosh and was able to sneak past Utah goalkeeper Evie Vitali. The defense stepped up after the goal, however, only allowing one shot on goal for the rest of the game.

Head coach Hideki Nakada was thrilled with the team’s performance, telling Utah AthleticsI’m incredibly proud and happy for our team tonight. We had a fantastic response after going down early and I felt we controlled the majority of the match thereafter.”

Utah scored its first goal just a few minutes after Christiansen put Arizona up front, as in the 19th minute Utah’s Taliana Kaufusi put a brilliant ball past Hope Hisey, the Wildcats’ goalkeeper. This marks Kaufusi’s fifth goal of the year, surpassing her total from last year and tying up the score at one apiece. 

The game remained tied going into the half, however, after the break, the Utes put pressure on Arizona’s defense. Their aggression paid off as in the 54th minute sophomore Maryn Granger scored her first goal as a Ute with a header shot off a Madeline Vegura corner. 

The Utah defense held strong for the final 36 minutes. Only one real shot threatened an Arizona tie, as Quincy Bonds tried to strike a ball past Vitali, but was denied by a diving save, securing Utah their first conference win of the year.

Next week the team will be traveling to Seattle to face off against a very talented Washington Huskies squad. The game will be at 8 p.m. MT this upcoming Thursday, so be sure to tune in on the Pac-12 Network to see a hopeful Utes victory. 

 

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