Kaufusi's Goal Lifts Utah Past Illinois State
NORMAL, Ill. – The Utah women's soccer team pitched its second shutout of the season on Thursday evening as they defeated the Redbirds of Illinois State, 1-0. The Utes recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time since the 2019 season.
Utah (3-2-0) scored the only goal in the game in the 20th minute of the match when Taliana Kaufusi scored her second goal of the season. Utah outshot Illinois State (1-4-0) 15-8 in the game, and Utah held possession for 61 percent of the match. The backline for the Utes stood tall as they limited the Redbirds to only one shot on goal.
Utah came out looking to score early in the first half. Eden Jacobsen took the first shot of the contest that set up a Utes corner kick. Following the corner, Courtney Talbot at a great opportunity as she went to the top left side of the net, but Priya Gillan made the save. Utah lined up for its third corner kick in a two-minute span, which led to an Anna Escobedo shot that Illinois State saved.
Following a goal kick by the Redbirds, the Utes took advantage, as Avery Brady chipped the ball in and found Taliana Kaufusi. Kaufusi raced the ball down and used her right foot to score in the open net, putting the Utes ahead 1-0 in the 20th minute.
A minute later, Kaufusi had her second shot when she tried to go to the bottom right corner of the net, which Gillan saved. The Utes continued to hold possession of the ball, and Talbot followed with a shot attempt, which the Illinois State goalkeeper saved.
The Redbirds put one shot on goal in the first half, and Chelsea Peterson tallied the save. Utah outshot the Redbirds, 6-3, in the first half and held a 5-1 advantage of shots on goal.
The Utes continued to put pressure on the Redbirds' defense, and 31 seconds into the half, Escobedo had a shot for 12 yards out and missed it high of the target. Utah continued to hold the ball on its offensive end, and Brianna Pearson had a shot go high.
Christensen continued to have quality scoring chances as she had one of the best looks of the night, and Gillan made a diving save. The Redbirds had a few chances in the second half, but the Utes defense stood firm and forced the Illinois State shots to go off target.
Illinois State put some late pressure on the Utes defense, but the Utah backline was up for the test and did not give Illinois State a quality look, and each of the shots for the Redbirds were off-target. The Utes defeated Illinois State, 1-0.
Utah heads to Indianapolis, Ind., to face the Bulldogs of Butler University on Sunday. First kick is set for 11 a.m. MT from the Bud and Jackie Sellick Bowl.