Women’s Soccer records a draw with Alabama
SALT LAKE CITY – Taliana Kaufusi tallied her third goal of the season and the University of Utah women's soccer team came away with a 1-1 draw on Sunday evening in a match against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Ute Field.
The Utes' second tie of the season puts their record at 3-1-2, while Alabama is 4-1-1.
"Alabama is a wonderful team and there's no shame in tying against them," said coach Hideki Nakada, "but we have to learn to finish the game better. We struggled to maintain possession throughout the match and for the first time this season, we weren't able to control the tempo of the game. We learned a lot about ourselves this weekend and we will use it to get better."
Utah wasted no time breaking the ice with Kaufusi's third-minute strike putting the home side ahead 1-0. The sophomore from Salt Lake City caught up to a perfectly placed lead pass from Luisa Delgado and beat goalkeeper McKinley Crone with a shot from left side of the box for the earliest goal the Utes have scored so far in 2022.
The rest of the first half saw an airtight Utah defense prevent the Crimson Tide from recording a single shot on goal and the Utes also successfully defended a trio of corner kicks to protect their slim lead. Kaufusi's score would go down as the only on-target effort of the initial frame as the score remained 1-0 at the break.
Alabama ramped up the pressure in the second half, outshooting their hosts, 12-2, but for more of the final period, Evie Vitali's brilliance in goal kept the Utah lead intact. Vitali left her net to beat the Crimson Tide's Gianna Paul to ball and end a scoring opportunity in the 56th minute, then made a spectacular stop on header from the six-yard box in the 69th minute. Utah's sophomore keeper finished the night with a season-high five saves.
It wasn't until the 89th minute that Alabama found the equalizer. On the 10th corner of the night for visitors, Felicia Knox sent a ball into the box that found Reyna Reyes and her shot reached the back of the net to tie the score. The final 83 seconds ticked away without incident, as the Utes came away with their second draw of the year.
The Utes' season-opening stretch of six consecutive home matches concludes on Sunday, Sept. 11th, when they'll host the Utah State Aggies at 5 p.m. MT.
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