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Second Half Scoring Gives Utah 2-0 Win Over No. 14 USC

Mar 12, 2021

Box Score (PDF) | Boxscore

SALT LAKE CITY – After a scoreless first half, the University of Utah Women's Soccer Team put two in the back of the net in the second for a 2-0 victory over the No. 14 USC Trojans for its first Pac-12 win of the season and the first win of the year on Ute Field.

"Really proud of the team tonight," head soccer coach Rich Manning said afterwards. "We played excellent defense tonight and were able to find the back of the net a couple of times against a great team. You could see our team exhale after we scored and started to play with even more confidence. The team continues to grow. Looking forward to facing UCLA on Sunday."

The duo of junior Anna Escobedo and sophomore Courtney Talbot were unstoppable in the second half, pairing up for both scores with Escobedo notching both goals and Talbot recording two assists. It was Escobedo's second and third goals of the season with the Holladay, Utah, native leading the Utes with seven points this year.

USC took 10 shots against the Utes tonight with three being on goal while Utah took nine with five on point. The Utes and the Trojans finished with three saves each, but Utah's constant pressure was clear with its five corner attempts to USC's one.

With both teams unable to find a shot on goal in the first 30 minutes, USC took its first chance on goal at the 30:34 mark, but Utah goalkeeper Chelsea Peterson was there for the stop, claiming her first save of the game. The Trojans would take five total shots in the first half to Utah's three, but neither team was able to find the net.

Entering the second half, USC wasted no time getting into scoring territory with a tough shot to the bottom corner, but once again Peterson showed off her range with a diving save to keep the score tied at 0-0 at the 52:00 mark. The Utes would go on to counter with a shot from Taliana Kaufusi, but the Trojan goalie made the stop.

The Utes continued to put pressure on the Trojans, earning a corner kick with less than 30 minutes to play in the game. After Talbot secured the ball on the outside, she would deliver a perfect cross into the six-yard box to Escobedo who would finish it off with her head to give the Utes the 1-0 advantage.

Being down one, USC's tempo increased, but the Utes continued to control possession in the second half with solid defense and team passing, which would set Utah up for its second goal of the game.

At the 79:19 mark in the second half, the Utes would find Talbot open in the box. Talbot took a composed touch followed by a great pass to a wide open Escobedo to the left who drilled it into the back of the net from about 10 yards out for the 2-0 lead.

With a little over 10 minutes to play, the Utes held strong during a surge from USC with Petersen coming up with a huge save at the bottom right of the goal. After a corner kick from the Trojans proved unsuccessful, the Utes were able to run out the remaining clock for the top-25 victory.