Utah Soccer Stays on the Road, Faces No. 23 Stanford and No. 10 California
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah women's soccer team will continue Pac-12 play on the road this weekend, traveling to the Bay Area to take on No. 23 Stanford and No. 10 California. Utah (1-2-2) and Stanford (1-3) will open the weekend's action on Friday, March 2 at 4 p.m. MT at Cagan Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif.
The contest between the Utes and Cardinal will be live streamed, while live stats will also be available. Utah will then turn its attention to another ranked Pac-12 foe in No. 10 California (2-0) on Sunday, March 7. The Utes and Golden Bears will have the first kick at 4 p.m. MT and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Stanford opened the spring season with a 2-1 victory over Pepperdine, but has dropped two-straight entering the match against Utah. The Cardinal fell to Oregon and Oregon State on the road by a score of 2-1 in both contests. Stanford fell behind Oregon 2-0 until a goal in the final seconds saved the team from going scoreless, while the loss at Oregon State came at the hands of a game-winner in the 83rd minute.
Stanford won the 2019 College Cup over North Carolina on penalty kicks 5-4, giving Stanford its third national title of the decade and second since 2017. Stanford was voted by the conference coaches as the preseason favorites in the Pac-12 and have won the last five conference titles. Highlighting the returners, the ranked squad includes All-Americans Naomi Girma, Madison Haley and Kiki Pickett.
California comes into the weekend with a 2-0 record in the spring season. Cal picked up road wins over Oregon State and Oregon this past weekend to get the season underway. The Golden Bears fell behind 1-0 early in the match against Oregon State, but rallied for three goals to take the win 3-1. In the defensive battle against Oregon, Cal was able to sneak a goal in the 70' to walk away with a 1-0 victory.
The Golden Bears welcomed back 18 returners from the 2019 NCAA Tournament squad, including the reigning National Freshman of the Year in goalkeeper Angelina Anderson. Emma Westin, who led the team in scoring last season, has posted two goals on the year.
SPRING SEES STIFF COMPETITION
Utah soccer will begin the spring season playing five ranked teams in seven games. The Utes opened the season against then-No. 10 BYU and are coming off a weekend of matches against then-No. 15 Washington State. The Utes will continue the slate against ranked opponents this weekend when the team plays No. 23 Stanford and No. 10 California. Not stopping there, Utah will welcome USC next weekend, which is currently ranked No. 13 in the Top Drawer poll and receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll, along with hosting No. 3-ranked UCLA, which currently is ranked third in both polls. Should the two be ranked following this weekend's play, it would mark Utah's sixth and seventh games playing a ranked opponent in nine outings to begin the 2021 spring season.
LAST TIME OUT
Utah went 0-1-1 in the trip to the Palouse where the Utes played a pair of matches against then-No. 15 Washington State Cougars. The first conference game for Utah ended in a draw after the Ute defense fended off eight corner kicks in the 2OT game, including three in the final overtime. Washington State posted eight shots in the final overtime period, but SJ Edwards grabbed a pair of saves to walk away with the shutout. The match on Sunday found Utah behind early after goals were scored by Washington State's Elyse Bennett in the 2' and 13'. Utah had good looks on goal, including two shots that were denied by the goalposts, but could not complete the comeback and fell 2-0.
Utah will play its first home matches of the season at Ute Field, kicking off a four-match home stretch on Friday, March 12 at 5 p.m. MT against USC. Utah will then wrap up the first home weekend against No. 3 UCLA on Sunday, March 14 at 1 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Networks.