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Utah Set Back By Pair of Early Goals, Falls To #15 Washington State

Feb 28, 2021

PULLMAN, Wash. – A pair goals from No. 15 Washington State's Elyse Bennett within the first 13 minutes of play went on to be the deciding factor in Utah soccer's 2-0 loss in Pullman on Sunday afternoon. Although the Utes put up 11 shots on the day, Utah couldn't convert to make a comeback on the road.

"We didn't get the result we wanted today, for sure," said head coach Rich Manning. "We had some shaky moments to start the game. However, after that we showed great fight and played some really good soccer. I was pleased with stretches in both halves and we created dangerous opportunities. Washington State is an excellent team and our players were tested. I like how we responded and got some good improvement. I'm looking forward to next weekend with this group."

WSU's Bennett found the net in just the second minute of the game to put the Cougars up 1-0 right away. The Utes responded with a shot attempt from Erin Bridges in the seventh minute when she ripped a shot to the bottom right corner, but was saved.

After a few minutes of back-and-forth play, Bennett tacked on another goal in the 13' to extend the lead 2-0 and give some breathing room for the Cougars. Utah was able to make its way down the field right after and had a corner kick opportunity, but could not take advantage and cut into the lead.

Within a minute of each other, Avery Brady got consecutive looks at goal with the first sailing high left and the second saved by WSU's Marissa Zucchetto in the 21'. After a shot by Taliana Kaufusi in the 24th minute, Brady applied the pressure once again and sent another shot minutes after to the bottom left corner to have her shot saved for the second time.

The Utes ended the first half with a pair of corner kicks and a shot by Anna Escobedo, but went to halftime still trailing 2-0 from the early goals by Washington State. Utah posted six shots in the first 45 minutes to Washington State's three, and had three corner kicks, which went on to be the only three corners for Utah in the match.

With the group refocused after a strong end to the half, the start of the second period continued to go back and forth, and the Ute defense stepped up to contain the Washington State offense. The Utes escaped a shot following a corner kick by the Cougars in the 52', while fending off another corner kick in the 54th minute.

Utah came dangerously close to cutting the lead after Kaufusi ripped consecutive shots that both hit the goalposts. The first shot in the 56th minute hit the right post with the top post blocking the follow up attempt seconds after.

Battling with the top-15 team for quite a stretch, Utah didn't get another shot off until the 78th minute when Brady went off frame in her fourth shot of the day. Haley Farrar sent a shot in the 85' in a last minute effort, but went off frame and ultimately saw the Utes finish the match scoreless despite holding Washington State scoreless in the second half.

"Today was a hard fought game," said Farrar. "Not the result we wanted, but it is clear that our team has grit and doesn't give up. We will take the lessons learned from this game and move on to the next together!"

Brady posted four shots - two shots on goal - to pace the team, while Bridges recorded the other shot on goal for Utah. Kaufusi put up three shots, two of which hit the goalpost. SJ Edwards recorded two saves in goal, both coming in the second half of play.

Utah soccer will head to the Bay Area next weekend to continue Pac-12 play on the road. Utah will play Stanford on Friday, March 5 at 4 p.m. MT to begin the trip. Utah will then look to its match against California on Sunday, March 7 at 4 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Networks.