Huskies, Cougars Await as Women’s Soccer Hits the Road
SALT LAKE CITY – Following a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Wildcats in their 2022 Pac-12 opener, the University of Utah women's soccer team will continue their conference schedule with two road matches, first on Thursday, when they'll visit the Washington Huskies for an 8 p.m. fixture at Husky Soccer Stadium in Seattle, then they'll head to Pullman, Wash., the home of the Washington State Cougars for a 1 p.m. bout at Lower Soccer Field on Sunday.
Date | Time: Thursday, Sept. 29 | 8 p.m. (MT)
Utah (5-2-2) vs. Washington (6-1-2)
Location: Seattle, Wash. | Husky Soccer Stadium
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer
Date | Time: Sunday, Oct. 2 | 1 p.m. (MT)
Utah (5-2-2) vs. Washington State (7-1-1)
Location: Pullman, Wash. | Lower Soccer Field
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer
After posting a 6-8-4 mark in 2021, the Huskies raced out of the gates in 2022 and owned a 6-0-2 record through their first eight matches before stumbling against Oregon. In a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Ducks, Washington allowed multiple goals for the first time this season and they were unable to score despite racking up 14 shots on goal, matching their season-high.
The Huskies have scored the third-most goals in the Pac-12 and Kyla Ferry, Karlee Stueckle and Hailey Still are tied for the team lead with four each. No one in the league has more assists than Washington's Summer Yates, whose been credited with six. She handed out multiple helpers in wins over Seattle and Sacramento State and she is also her team's leader in shots with 25.
All Time Against Washington
There have been 15 meetings between the Utes and the Huskies and neither side has an edge in the series, which stands at 7-7-1. These squads clashed for the first time in 1998 in Seattle and Utah came out on top, 3-2, and followed that by knocking off Washington in their next two meetings as well. The Huskies didn't get their first triumph over the Utes until 2008 and they are 4-3 all-time against Utah at home, though the Utes scored 1-0 victory in their last trip to Seattle in 2019.
Last Time Against Washington
The only tie these rivals have ever recorded against each other occurred at Ute Field in 2021. Mckenzie Weinart put the visitors ahead in the 26th minute, but Taliana Kaufusi responded with a score of her own in the 54th minute and neither side could break the deadlock after that. The Utes outshot their guests 19-15, including a 5-2 advantage in overtime but Washington's Olivia Sekany collected nine saves and the tie remained intact to the final whistle.
Scouting Washington State
After recording a loss and a tie in their first two contests, the Cougars have been red hot, rattling off seven straight wins, including a 1-0 downing of Oregon State on Friday in their conference opener. That triumph was also the only time during their current win streak WSU was held without multiple goals and they've put up three straight clean sheets as well.
Coach Todd Shulenberger is in his eighth season helming the Cougars and is attempting to guide them to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time. His roster includes one of the Pac-12's leading goal scorers in junior Margie Detrizio, who is tied for fourth in the league with seven scores and is tied for third in assists with four. Detrizio has picked up multiple points in six different matches, including a pair of four-point days against Eastern Washington and Northern Colorado.
All Time Against Washington State
Sunday's matchup will be the 20th time Utah and WSU have met and the Cougars possess a narrow 9-8-2 advantage over the Utes. They've also taken three of the last four meetings. The last Utah win in the series came in 2018, when a Holly Daugirda golden goal gave the Utes an overtime triumph over the seventh-ranked Cougars. Utah's most recent victory in Pullman also came in overtime by a score of 4-3 in 2013.
Last Time Against Washington State
Only one goal was scored when WSU visited Salt Lake City in 2021 and it was scored by Grayson Lynch in the 77th minute of a 1-0 Cougars win. The home squad was limited to two shots on goal, both of which came in the first half, while Utah's goalkeeper, Chelsea Peterson, made seven saves.
Kaufusi Can't Be Stopped
Taliana Kaufusi continues to rack up goals in 2022 and she headed in her fifth score of the season on Friday to help the Utes drop Arizona. The junior from Salt Lake City has moved into the top 10 in the Pac-12 in goals and has already surpassed her goal total from all of 2022. In the games that Kaufusi has scored, Utah owns a 3-0-1 record and she's the first Ute to register five goals in the season's first nine games since Hailey Skolmoski in 2017.
Freshman on Fire
Rookie Ryann Cull has grabbed the team lead in assists with three and her most recent contribution came on Taliana Kaufusi's game-tying goal against Arizona. Cull already has the highest assist total by a Utah freshman since Natalee Wells was credited with four in 2016 and two of Cull's three assists have come on goals by Kaufusi.
By beating Arizona, Utah put up a win in their conference opener for the first time since 2016. That triumph also counted as their second come-from-behind win of the season and their second comeback victory in Pac-12 play under Hideki Nakada. The Utes have not started their league slate with consecutive victories since they won their first three Pac-12 fixtures in 2011.
First Career Goals
The list of players who've scored their first career goals in 2022 continues to grow and Maryn Granger was the latest edition with her game-winning tally on Friday. She joins a list of players that already includes Cull, Kyla Jennings, Brooklyn Blaylock and Madeline Vergura, all of whom have made their first-ever appearance on the scoresheet during the current campaign.
The Utes jumped up one spot in the newest United Soccer Coaches regional poll, taking the No. 7 spot in the Pacific region.
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.
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.
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.
After returning from the Evergreen State, the Utes will be back on their home field on Oct. 6th to take on the Oregon Ducks.