Utah Soccer Returns Home to Entertain Ducks, Beavers
SALT LAKE CITY – Only two more weekends at home remain on the 2022 regular season schedule for the University of Utah women's soccer team and they'll be back on their own turf for a pair of Pac-12 matches starting on Thursday, when they'll host the Oregon Ducks for a 6:30 p.m. fixture at Ute Field, followed on Sunday by a matchup against Oregon State at 1 p.m.
Date | Time: Thursday, Oct. 6 | 6:30 p.m. (MT)
Utah (5-4-2) vs. Oregon (3-4-4)
Location: Salt Lake City | Ute FIeld
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer
Date | Time: Sunday, Oct. 9 | 1 p.m. (MT)
Utah (5-2-2) vs. Oregon State (4-5-2)
Location: Salt Lake City | Ute Field
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer
Game Day Promotions
Thursday night is the Utes' Pink Game, meaning the team will be donning pink uniforms and fans can grab a pink wristband and thundersticks on their way into the field while supplies last. The team will also stick around after the final whistle for a postgame autograph session.
On Sunday, the Utes will be honoring their six-person senior class before kickoff, which consists of Luisa Delgado, Haley Farrar, Jade Gosar, Kylee Geis, Erin Bridges and Madeline Vergura. Red cowbells will be given away at the gate while supplies last and fans can also purchase tickets to the match that will allow them admission to the Utah volleyball match scheduled for 4 p.m on Sunday.
Thursday's contest will be the Ducks' first conference road match of the season and they'll be attempting to erase the memory of consecutive losses to UCLA and USC during their last homestand. Oregon started Pac-12 play by shutting out Washington on Sept. 23 and all three of the Ducks' victories in 2022 have been shutouts. Goalkeeper Leah Freeman racked up 14 stops in her team's defeat of the Huskies and her efforts led to her being named Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week.
Oregon is coached by former U.S. Women's National Team assistant Graeme Abel, who is in his third season leading the program. A year ago, Abel guided the Ducks to a 9-4-6 record, their best mark in more than a decade, and their 86 points were the second-most in program history. They also set a team record by having four players chosen to the all-conference roster.
All Time Against Oregon
This will be the second straight year Oregon has traveled to Ute Field, and in 2021, the Ducks escaped with a 1-0 overtime win. Each team has won four times over the last nine meetings between these clubs, with the 2020 edition ending in a tie, but Utah owned a significant edge prior to that. Beginning with a 3-2 victory in Eugene in 1996, the Utes won six of their first eight meetings with the Ducks and they still maintain an overall edge of 10-5-2 in the all-time series.
Last Time Against Oregon
A defensive battle ensued when Oregon and Utah squared off on Oct. 24, 2021 and neither side could produce a goal for more than 100 minutes. The teams combined for 21 shots, with the Ducks holding a 7-3 edge in on-target efforts, but it wasn't until the 108th minute that the tie was broken by Ally Cook, giving the visitors the 1-0 win.
Scouting Oregon State
The Beavers are attempting to regain their footing after an 0-3 start in league play and they've also lost four of their last five. OSU began the year by going undefeated in the their first five fixtures, including a 4-1 triumph over Wyoming that included a pair of goals from McKenna Martinez. Martinez's six goals make her responsible for nearly half of her team's total scoring output in 2022, but she's been kept off the scoresheet in her team's last five matches, during which time the Beavers have produced only two tallies.
After spending three years as an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Lauren Sinacola took over as head coach at Oregon State prior to the start of the 2021 campaign and helped the Beavers improve from four to 11 victories. Sinacola's tenure began with eight straight wins, matching the best start to a season in program history and they also earned a road win over Stanford for the first time ever. The Beavers are now trying to put together consecutive winning years for the first time since 2011-12.
All Time Against Oregon State
In 13 all-time tilts, Utah has forged a narrow 7-5-1 edge over their rivals from Corvallis and it includes a 5-1-1 record at home. OSU's only triumphant trip to Salt Lake City came in 2010, when they eked out a 1-0 win. The first time these programs crossed paths was in 2008 and the Beavers won three of their first four against the Utes, but Utah has taken six of nine since then to grab the lead in the series.
Last Time Against Oregon State
The first Pac-12 victory as Utah head coach for Hideki Nakada came at the expense of OSU in 2021 and it was a come-from-behind effort. Aidan Brown put the Beavers ahead in the 36th minute, but Utes responded soon after with two goals in less than 90 seconds, first from Brianna Pearson, followed by a strike courtesy of Anna Escobedo in the 41st minute. Utah's defense denied OSU from putting a single shot on goal in the second half to hold on for the win.
Five different Utes have picked up multiple assists in 2022, the most in a season since the same number logged at least two assists in 2018. The team leader in that statistic is Ryann Cull, who has three, while Madeline Vergura, Kelly Bullock, Courtney Brown and Luisa Delgado have each contributed two.
Through their first seven matches of the season at Ute Field, the Utes have compiled a 5-1-1 record and that includes three clean sheets and two comeback victories. This is the first time since the 2016 team went 8-1-1 on their own pitch that Utah has collected wins in five of its first seven home fixtures.
Kaufusi Can't Be Stopped
Taliana Kaufusi continues to keep up her remarkable scoring pace, as she added her sixth goal of the year on Thursday at Washington. Kaufusi has now scored in four of her team's last six games, leads the team in goals and points and her goal total has her tied for seventh in the Pac-12.
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.
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 Sept. 23. She joins a list of players that already includes Cull, Kyla Jennings, Brooklyn Blaylock and Vergura, all of whom have made their first-ever appearance on the scoresheet during the current campaign.
The seventh edition of the United Soccer Coaches Regional Poll placed the Utes 10th, three spots down from their previous ranking.
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.
On Friday, Oct. 14, the Utes will be in Tempe, Ariz., where they'll battle the Arizona State Sun Devils in a clash scheduled to start at 8 p.m.