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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Utah Soccer Splits Stretch Against the Arizona Schools

While Utah displayed aggressive performances, the Utes could only manage a victory over Arizona State.
Utah+forward+Kelly+Bullock+%287%29+in+the+game+versus+Utah+Valley+Wolverines+at+Ute+Soccer+Field+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah%2C+on+Wednesday%2C+Aug.30%2C+2023.+%28Photo+by+Xiangyao+%E2%80%9CAxe%E2%80%9D+Tang+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Xiangyao Tang
Utah forward Kelly Bullock (7) in the game versus the Utah Valley Wolverines at Ute Soccer Field in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

After a tough road trip to Washington State, the Utah women’s soccer team returned to Ute Field this past week to face off against the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats. Both games were closely contested and saw the Utes split the stretch, picking up the win over ASU and dropping the match to Arizona.

Arizona State

The crowd at Ute Field was electric last Thursday night, as the Utes faced off against the No. 18 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. With goals from forwards Kelly Bullock and Taliana Kaufusi, the Utes walked away with a 2-0 win — their first victory against a ranked opponent at home since 2021.

Although the Utes struggled to score early on during their past road trip, they were able to control possession for much of the first half, which helped them establish early momentum. Seven minutes into the match, the Sun Devils committed a foul that led to a Utah free kick on ASU’s side of the field. Ryann Cull delivered a ball to junior Maryn Granger in the box, who then headed the ball to Bullock. The sophomore then proceeded to score, making the score an early 1-0 in favor of the Utes. 

The Utes maintained possession and momentum into the half and came out of the second half gates aggressively. In the 49th minute, Kaufusi took a deep shot that ended up going off the crossbar, past Arizona State keeper Pauline Nelles and into the back of the net.

During the last half of the game, the Sun Devils struggled to break through Utah’s defense. The Utes allowed ASU only three shots that missed the target, with the last attempt coming in the 66th minute, along with three corner kicks. Notably, ASU’s single shot on goal marked the lowest number conceded by the Utes this season.

Arizona

Despite the big win over the top-ranked Sun Devils, the Utes dropped the match against Arizona this past Sunday. 

The Utes were the more aggressive team throughout the entire match and led the game in both shots and shots on goal. The Utes had their fair share of early scoring opportunities, the closest of which being a Katie O’Kane shot in the 14th minute that ended up being just in reach of the Arizona goalkeeper.

Utah keeper Kasey Wardle played well, making three impressive saves. Despite her stellar play, the Utes conceded a goal in the 37th minute on a rather unfortunate turn of events. Arizona player Nyota Katembo sent in a cross that deflected off a Utah defender and into the net, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.

The Utes continued to outshoot the Wildcats, for the rest of the first half. Shortly into the second period, the Utes had a real chance to even the score. In the 50th minute Utes player Lilliah Blum sent in a ball to Kennedy Schoennauer who had a real chance to score before Arizona goalkeeper Hope Hisey was able to deflect it. The Utes got three more shots on Hisey but were unable to find the tying strike and fell to the Wildcats by the final of 1-0. 

The final match of Utah’s regular season schedule remains as they will be facing off against Colorado this Friday at Ute Field.

 

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@max_valva

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About the Contributors
Max Valva, Sports Writer
Max Valva is a sports writer for the Daily Utah Chronicle and is a studying journalism. Growing up playing basketball he made it his goal to pursue a career connected to the game. He is a diehard A’s, Warriors and Raiders fan.
Xiangyao Tang, Photo Director
Axe is a photographer and the photo director of the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is from China and is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital photography. Axe joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition to his position at the Chrony, he is also a photo intern for University of Utah Athletics. When he's not writing code, you will find him rock climbing, camping, skiing or hiking with his camera.

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