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Saturday Night Fixture Pits Utah Soccer Against #25 BYU

Sep 15, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – For the first time in nearly a month, the University of Utah women's soccer team is preparing for a match away from home and the opponent will be the No. 25 BYU Cougars, who will face the Utes on Saturday at 7 p.m. at South Field.
 

SUNDAY'S MATCHUP
Date | Time: Saturday, Sept. 17 | 7 p.m. (MT)
Utah (4-1-2) at BYU (3-2-2)
Location: Provo, Utah | South Field
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer

 
Scouting BYU
One year after forging a path all the way to the NCAA National Championship Game, the Cougars, who will start the week by taking on Utah State on Thursday, own a 3-2-2 record that includes triumphs over Cal State Fullerton, Ohio State and Cal State Northridge. All of those victories were shutouts and sophomore Savanna Mason, who's in her first year as BYU's starting keeper, owns each clean sheet.
 
On offense, no one has piled up more points than Brecken Mozingo, who leads the Cougars in both goals and assists. Mozingo has scored in four consecutive matches and picked up two goals in her team's 5-0 drubbing of CSUN.
 
All Time Against BYU
The Utes have met the Cougars more than any other opponent in program history and Saturday will mark the 35th time these teams have gotten together. BYU owns a 24-7 advantage in those tilts, with the teams tying thrice. The Cougars are 5-0-2 in their last seven meetings with their in-state rivals, with Utah's most recent win in the series coming 2014. The Utes will also be gunning for the squad's first win in Provo since 2007.
 
Last Time Against BYU
On Sept. 9, 2021, the Cougars came to Ute Field for a bout that went the distance, as 110 minutes couldn't produce a goal for either side. The two adversaries took 28 shots, 19 of them by the visitors, but both keepers made four saves, including three from Utah's Chelsea Peterson in overtime, preserving the scoreless draw.
 
A Scoring Machine
It has taken Taliana Kaufusi only seven matches to equal her scoring total from 2021 and her most recent goal was the only score in her team's 1-0 victory over Utah State on Sunday. Kaufusi is the first Ute to log four goals in the team's first seven games since Paola van der Veen accomplished that feat in 2018. Kaufusi also scored in Utah's Sept. 4 tie with Alabama, meaning she's been on the scoresheet in consecutive matches for the first time in her Utah career.
 
Defense On Point
The Utes have now gone six straight matches without allowing multiple goals. That's the team's longest stretch without giving up more than one score since they went six consecutive games permitting one goal or less in 2017. Their last such run of longer than six matches was in 2016 and that stretch covered 10 fixtures.
 
First Career Goals
Kyla Jennings became the squad's third player to net her first collegiate goal in an August 28 win over Illinois State. She joined a group that already included Brooklyn Blaylock and Madeline Vergura, who's since added her second score of the campaign an Aug. 25 defeat of Denver.

Regional Rankings
For the second straight week, the Utes own the No. 7 spot in the Pacific in the United Soccer Coaches Regional Poll. In the West Region, BYU is ranked sixth.
  
Winning at Home
The Utes are winning .589 percent of their home games since the 2016 season. Utah has won 29 home wins since 2016 and has not had a losing season at home. The Utes opened their home schedule on Sunday and defeated Colorado State, 3-0. Sunday was the first of 11 games at Ute Field. 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 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.
 
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 August 8th 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.
 
Preseason Pac-12 Coaches' Poll
On August 10th, the Pac-12 Conference announced the Coaches' Preseason Poll. The Cardinal of Stanford University was picked as the preseason favorite to win the league, while the Utes were picked to finish ninth.
 
Next Up
The 2022 Pac-12 season starts at home for the Utes and their first conference opponent will be Arizona, who will be in Salt Lake City for 7 p.m. match on Sept. 23.

FOLLOW THE UTES!
Fans can follow along on social media (Twitter: @UtahWSoccer | Instagram: @UtahWSoccer | Facebook: Facebook.com/Utahwsoccer).