Defensive Battle Leaves Utah Soccer Short Against #18 Washington
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah women's soccer team suffered a 1-0 loss in a defensive battle to the No. 18-ranked Washington Huskies Friday afternoon at Ute Field. The Utes battled and were in the match through its entirety, but could not overcome the first-half goal by Washington.
Utah and Washington played an even-keeled half for the majority of the first 45 minutes. Utah and Washington each had a pair of corner kicks early in the half and it wasn't until the 20th minute that the first shot of the match was recorded after the teams had gone back-and-forth to start.
With the match still scoreless, Utah got its closest look on goal in the first half after Courtney Talbot sent a cross into the box where Taliana Kaufusi and Washington's goalkeeper both went after it. Kaufusi got to the ball just before, but volleyed it just over the crossbar as the two collided.
Washington applied pressure in the coming minutes and after two previous attempts came up short, it was on the third that the Huskies' Summer Yates found herself uncontested in the box and sent one past Chelsea Peterson to the right corner for the 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.
Utah finished the half strong and kept possession on Washington's half of the field trying to tie the match before halftime. Although applying pressure, Utah's only look came from Kylee Geis from well outside the box, along with a corner kick that provided opportunity with less than 40 seconds left on the clock which also came up empty.
The second half played out to be much like the first with both teams locking down defensively. Kaufusi was played a through ball in the 55', but after she earned a corner kick out of the run, Utah once again could not make noise out of the corner kick.
After the Washington defense came away unscathed, Utah was then forced to fend off four corner kicks in less than a nine-minute span as the Huskies' offense took control. The Ute defense battled and limited Washington to just one shot attempt throughout the sequence, which went out high.
Utah's first shot of the second half did not come until the 77th minute when Talbot received a cross from Kaylee Coatney and shot it off the touch, but Washington's Olivia Sekany was in the right place at the right time to stop the attempt. With time winding down, Utah was granted a free kick in the 87th minute. Kylee Geis sent a ball into the box and after it popped out of the initial group of players, the ball landed to Talbot once again. She fired it off, but Sekany made the diving save that would end up saving the game for Washington.
With 30 seconds to go, Utah stayed alive with a corner kick opportunity, but the ball sailed through and was knocked out by a Washington defender to end the match as time expired.
It was a battle of the defenses all night as Utah was held to just four shot attempts, while Washington posted only seven attempts with just three of those being on goal. Both teams recorded seven corner kicks Friday night.
Utah will hit the road and head to Eugene, Ore., to take on the Oregon Ducks next Friday, April 2. The Utes and Ducks will play at 3 p.m. MT on Pape Field. Utah will close out the road trip against Oregon State on Sunday, April 4 at 2 p.m. MT in Corvallis, Ore.