Utah Soccer Winless in Bay Area Roadtrip


Jack Gambassi

(Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Max Valva, Sports Writer


The University of Utah women’s soccer team traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area this past week to face off against Stanford and UC Berkeley. After being unable to pick up a victory at home against two ranked opponents, the Utes were looking to regain momentum on the road. Unfortunately, the squad could not pick up a victory on the road trip, which continues a stretch of five straight matches without a win.

Thursday night featured the first game of the road trip, which took place in Palo Alto against the No. 7 team in the country, the Stanford Cardinal (14-2-1). Playing against one of the premier teams in the conference Utah (6-5-3) was unable to put up much of a fight and fell to the Cardinal 5-0. Stanford led the Utes in shot attempts by quite a large margin, 28-8, which led to Utah goalkeeper Evie Vitali setting her season high in saves at 10.

Stanford got off to a fast start as Cardinal defender Elise Evans was able to score a goal in the second minute of the match. They were able to add to their lead as they scored in the 20th minute and again in the 35th minute, making the score 3-0 going into the half. After giving up two more goals to start the second half, the Utes did their best to try and get on the board with three shots in the final fifteen minutes, but they were unable to sneak one past the Stanford goalkeeper, ending the game in a shutout.

Head coach Hideki Nakada was brutally honest in an interview with Utah Athletics after the game saying, “We were beaten by a better team today, and for the first time this season, we were simply outplayed throughout the match and weren’t able to show our qualities.”

Going into the Berkeley after the blowout at Stanford, the Utes were determined to play a better game. While the defense looked impressive against the Golden Bears (10-4-5), the offense was never able to see too many opportunities, and the game ended where it began at 0-0

The Utes spent most of the first half defending, as Cal was playing a very aggressive game. Cal recorded 9 shots with 3 of them on goal in the first 45 minutes and impressively were able to keep the Golden Bears scoreless. The second half started off slow with the first shot on goal for either team not coming until the 65th minute, a laser shot by Utah’s Courtney Brown stopped by the Cal goalkeeper. The best chance for either team came when Vitali was called for a foul in the box, which let Cal’s Hannah Cooper attempt a penalty kick. Vitali instantly made up for the foul as she was able to make a diving denial to keep the score even at zeros. Each side pressed hard for the final 10 minutes, but neither team was able to break the deadlock and the game concluded in a scoreless tie.

Looking to bounce back after the tough road trip, Utah will travel to Boulder to face off against Colorado in their final match of the season. The match will take place at 3 p.m. MDT and can be streamed on the Pac-12 Network.


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