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Kaufusi, Vitali Help Propel Women’s Soccer Past Aggies

Sep 11, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – Taliana Kaufusi knocked in a 60th minute goal and that was all the University of Utah women's soccer team needed as Evie Vitali picked up her third clean sheet of the season in a 1-0 victory over the Utah State Aggies on Sunday evening at Ute Field.
This boosts Utah's record to 4-1-2 in 2022, while the Aggies fall to 2-2-3.
"I'm proud of our Utes for finding a way to win the match tonight," said coach Hideki Nakada. "We made it harder than we should have and took longer than we should have, but we scored the way we talked about, which I am very happy about."
Through seven matches, Kaufusi has already matched her scoring total from all of 2021 with four and she finished atop the stat sheet in shots on the night with four. Kelly Bullock recorded her first collegiate point with an assist while Vitali matched her season-high with five stops.
Both goalkeepers were on their game in the first half, as Vitali and USU's Diera Walton each logged two saves. Walton denied one try in the sixth minute and Vitali made her first stop at the 18:24 mark. The final 10 minutes of the half saw both teams again do their best to break the deadlock, but shots by USU's Kaylie Chambers and the Utes' Kaitlyn Conley were saved, keeping the scoreless tie intact at the break.

Utah quickly seized the second half initiative, sending in four attempts on goal in the early portion of period before Kaufusi broke through. The junior from Salt Lake City got on the end of a perfect cross, sent in from the right side of the box by Bullock. Her right-footed shot from just outside the six-yard box beat Walton for what would turn out to be the game's only score.

Vitali and the Utes' back line made sure their slim lead stood up over the final half-hour. The Aggies were limited to only two shots on goal over that span and the Utah keeper came up huge in both instances.
The best chance USU had to tie the score came on their final chance of the night in the 78th minute. A ball into the box from Kylie Olson found Tenzi Knowles just a few yards from goal, but her shot from close range was denied by a diving Vitali. This turned out to be the last stop the sophomore needed to make to lock up her clean sheet and ice a Utah win.

 "We did struggle to find consistency in our plays, which we need to be better about," said Nakada. "Utah State took advantage of our mistakes and we almost paid a price for it. I'm excited to get back to work and get ready for a big match against BYU on Saturday."

Next Up
The Utes' next challenge will be a road test in Provo, Utah against No. 13 BYU on Sept. 17. The start time is set for 7 p.m MT.
Fans can follow along on social media (Twitter: @UtahWSoccer | Instagram: @UtahWSoccer | Facebook: