Stout Play in Goal by Defense Leads to Scoreless Draw at #15 Washington State
PULLMAN, Wash. – Defense was the name of the game Friday night as Utah faced off against No. 15 Washington State with SJ Edwards leading the charge with five saves – including two in the final five minutes.
"Our team performance was fantastic tonight," head coach Rich Manning said. "We went toe-to-toe against an outstanding team and was able to take a point in the standings. We showed a lot of grit and heart. We did some really nice things with the ball, especially in the middle part of the game. The game got choppy in the later stages, but that is expected in this early part of the season. However, our competitive spirit really shined into the overtimes."
The first half started a bit slow despite Washington State on the on the offensive for a good portion of the first 30 minutes. However, it was an exciting five minutes between the 32nd and 37th minute with both squads getting a pair of good looks on goal.
Eden Jacobsen, who came on in the 25' had the first good look on goal between the two teams but WSU's Marissa Zucchetto. The Cougars countered right back after Zucchetto's save but SJ Edwards was about to get a hand on the shot that went top-shelf. Edwards came through once again just 23 seconds later on the rebound.
The wild five minutes continued a couple minutes later when Brooklyn James booted one to the bottom left corner but like Edwards, the Wazzu keeper was there for the save. WSU (3-0-1, 0-0-1 Pac-12) was able to get another shot off in the 41st minute but was wide left as both teams headed into the half scoreless.
Just 37 seconds after coming in for Jacobsen in the second-half, Avery Brady let one loose towards the top-right corner in the 74' but couldn't convert with the WSU goalkeeper there for save once again.
The second 45 minutes of action was very much like the first with spurts of action involved – this time it included a pair of yellow cards from both teams. Utah (1-1-2, 0-0-1 Pac-12) had the first look at goal at the 63' mark when Jacobsen tried to go through the five hole, but was denied by Zucchetto. Just 23 seconds after subbing in, Avery laced one towards the top-right that was punched out by the WSU keeper.
Washington State had a counter in the 81' on a shot from Alyssa Gray but Edwards, like her counterpart, was there for the save. Moments later, Hanna Olsen was assessed a yellow card before Gray was handed one as well in the 86'. WSU got one more shot off in the 89' but it was wide left before the whistle ended regulation.
Neither team got it going offensively in the first overtime period with a foul on both squads being the highlight. The second overtime period produced a lot more action, albeit more than Utah would've liked but Edwards was once again there to make the save in the 101'. The Cougars rifled in three more shots within a two-minute span, two of which went high before Edwards made her fifth save of the night at the 103'.
The waning minutes of the game got a bit chippy with both teams getting assessed yellow cards again. WSU's Makamae Gomera-Stevens was handed out one in the 104' before Jacobsen was given one in the 106'. The final four-plus minutes of action was really nerve-wracking for the Utes defense with Washington State getting three-straight corner kicks with four looks on goal that were off target.
"The defense was strong all night," Manning noted. "SJ was solid and compose in goal and made a couple of strong saves late in the game. The players in front of her made a lot of critical plays. I was really pleased that Kennedy and Kaylee were able to get their first minutes after fighting back from injury. And, we can't forget Eden – who made her first appearance on the field since 2017!"
Utah remains in Pullman and will face off against the Cougars again on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 1 p.m. (MT). No live-stream will be available but live stats can be found on StatBroadcast.