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Utah Soccer Opens 2022 Season Thursday

Aug 16, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah women's soccer team kicks off its 2022 season on Thursday when they head to Portland, Ore., to face the University of Portland. Utah returns home on Sunday when they take on the Rams of Colorado State at Ute Field.

Date | Time: Thursday, Aug. 18 | 8 p.m. (MT)
Utah (0-0-0) at Portland (0-0-0)
Location: Portland, Ore. | Merlo Field
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer
Date | Time: Sunday, Aug. 21 | 2 p.m. (MT)
Utah (0-0-0) vs. Colorado State (0-0-0)
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah | Ute Field
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Pac-12 Insider
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer

Sunday Game Day Promotion
Join us Sunday at Ute Field for the Utes home-opener. The first 500 fans will receive a rally towel, while students who attend the contest will receive free pizza and otter pops while supplies last. 
Scouting Portland 
During the 2021 season, the Portland Pilots went 9-8 under the direction of Michelle French. French led the Pilots to a 5-4 record in the West Coast Conference, their best since 2013. They return two All-WCC honorees in forward Nedya Sawan and goalkeeper Bre Norris, with 16 total returners and ten newcomers. The Pilots were picked to finish fifth in the WCC in the annual WCC Preseason Coaches' Poll, with Sawan making the WCC Preseason Team. Sawan led the team in goals (12) and points (26) last season. She also dished out two assists. Norris appeared and started every game for the Pilots and had a goals-against average of 1.12 on the season. 
Last Time Against Portland
Utah matched up with Portland last year in the season-opener at Ute Field. The Utes came away with a 3-1 victory giving head coach Hideki Nakada his first win as a Ute. Playing through a rainstorm, Utah had three different players pick up a goal as Eden JacobsenTaliana Kaufusi, and Makayla Christensen scored.  
Scouting Colorado State 
Colorado State opens its season on Thursday evening in St. George, Utah, against Utah Tech. The Rams are led by second-year head coach Keely Hagen and have 11 new Rams added to the roster between the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Last season the Rams were 6-8-3 on the season. Colorado State played Northern Colorado last Friday in an exhibition contest and came away with a 1-0 victory. The Rams return seniors Liv Layton and Caroline Lucas, both of which hold multiple records at CSU. Layton ranks seventh all-time in career points and is five points away from moving to fifth. She also ranks inside the top 10 in assists per game. Lucas ranks ninth all-time in shots per game. 
Last Time Against Colorado State
Sunday's matchup between the Rams of Colorado State and Utah will be the first meeting in program history. 
Season Opener Under Nakada 
Utah enters its second season under head coach Hideki Nakada and is looking to go 2-0 in season-openers under coach Nakada. Last year the Utes won 3-1 over Portland in the season-opener at Ute Field. This season the Utes take on the Pilots at Merlo Field in Portland. 
New Name, Same Face 
Returning to the team this year is Courtney Talbot. However, this year she will be Courtney Brown. Last season, Brown led the team in goals (5) and points (11). Her five goals were a career-high. She has eight career goals. Last year her five goals came in five different games. Her biggest goal of the season came when she scored to earn a draw against No. 3 UCLA.
Winning at Home
The Utes are winning .589 percent of their home games since the 2016 season. Utah enters the 2022 season with 28 home wins since 2016 and has not had a losing season at home. Utah will look to continue their winning ways at home this season when they host 11 games at Ute Field during the regular season. The Utes won eight home games during the 2016 season, the most during this span.
NCAA Appearances 
Entering the 2022 season, the Utes will look for their ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Utes last went to the NCAA Tournament during the 2019 season. Utah's best finish in the NCAA Tournament was 2016, when they reached the Sweet 16.
Pac-12 Opener 
Utah will play eight non-conference matchups before they get into conference play. Utah will open conference play on Friday, Sept. 23, when they host Arizona at Ute Field. Utah will finish the season with 11 conference games. The Utes close out Pac-12 play on Friday, Nov. 4, at Colorado.
New Year, New Staff 
The 2022 Utes will have a new look this season as they have a new member on their staff. Head coach Hideki Nakada announced on Monday the hiring of Nuno Gourgel as the new volunteer assistant coach. Gourgel comes to Utah after spending the last year at Utah Valley University. Before Utah Valley, Gourgel was an assistant coach with Robert Morris University's women's soccer program. Gourgel's coaching credentials include four seasons as the men's and women's head coach at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. He started both programs and won 108 games combined during his four seasons, including a 59-7-11 (.837) record with the women.
Season tickets for the 2022 season are now available. Call the Utah ticket office at 801-581-UTIX or visit Season tickets are $25, and you have an add-in option for the 2022 soccer team scarf for $10. The total season ticket package is on sale for $35. 
2022 Schedule
Want to see the Utes play this season? Utah will play 12 matches at Ute Field this season. The first chance is Aug. 10 against Idaho State in an exhibition contest. The home opener is set for Sunday, Aug. 21, when they host Colorado State. Aug. 21 is the start of a six-match homestand. For the full schedule, click here.
Preseason Pac-12 Coaches' Poll
Last Wednesday, the Pac-12 Conference announced the Coaches' Preseason Poll. The Cardinal of Stanford University were picked as the preseason favorite to win the league, while the Utes were picked to finish ninth.
Next Up
Following these two contests, the Utes return to action on Thursday, Aug. 25, when they host Denver at Ute Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. 
Fans can follow along on social media (Twitter: @UtahWSoccer | Instagram: @UtahWSoccer | Facebook: