Women’s Soccer Drops Heartbreaker to #25 BYU
PROVO, Utah – Despite a season-high seven saves for Evie Vitali and the first goal in the collegiate career of Ryann Cull, the University of Utah women's soccer team suffered a gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat at the hands of the No. 25 BYU Cougars on Saturday night at South Field.
This defeat puts the Utes record at 4-2-2 so far in 2022 while BYU improves to 4-2-3.
"This was the third time conceding a goal in the last two minutes of a game," said coach Hideki Nakada, "and we obviously can't continue to allow that to happen if we want to be successful in Pac-12 play. We absorbed too much in the second half and we needed to be better controlling the tempo of the game without the ball.
"I was proud of our Utes with the way we played to get back in the game after we went down, so it was much more disappointing we couldn't keep that mentality to finish the match knowing what this team is capable of."
The match began with a first half that saw both teams threaten, but neither score. The Cougars put four shots on frame over the first 45 minutes but Vitali stopped each one, with her final save of the period coming in the 40th minute to keep the game even. The Utes offensive efforts in the first half also produced multiple on-target efforts, but the 0-0 tie remained at the break.
The Cougars continued to apply pressure in the second half and Vitali answered with multiple incredible saves to keep the score frozen for the first half-hour of the period, but BYU broke through thanks to an Olivia Wade score in the 78th minute.
BYU's lead stood up until the Utes broke through at the 88:03 mark. A corner kick from Madeline Vergura bounced to Cull on the left side of the box and her right-footed shot snuck past the Cougars' keeper to draw the visitors level. Cull is now the fourth player to tally her first Utah goal in 2022.
Unfortunately for the Utes, the tie would not last long, as BYU answered less than a minute later with the score that turned out to be the game-winner.
"We will have to learn and get better from these tough moments," said Nakada, "so we can be ready for conference play starting next week."
The next time the Utes are on the pitch, it will be for their Pac-12 opener, as Arizona comes to town for a match on Friday night that will begin at 7 p.m.
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