Sun Devils Set to Host Utah Soccer on Friday
SALT LAKE CITY – The last time the University of Utah women's soccer team took the field, they scored their most lopsided victory of the year, dominating Oregon State 6-0, and now the Utes will be attempting to take that momentum with them on the road, as they'll travel south to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday night at 8 p.m. at the Sun Devil Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
Date | Time: Friday, Oct. 14 | 8:00 p.m. (MT)
Utah (6-5-2) vs. Arizona State (6-3-2)
Location: Tempe, Ariz. | Sun Devil Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer
Scouting Arizona State
The Sun Devils were undefeated through their first eight matches, posting a 6-0-2 mark, but a challenging stretch against Stanford, UCLA and USC ended with three straight defeats and ASU is attempting to regain their stride with six contests remaining.
Sixth-year coach Graham Winkworth can still call upon one of the most prolific goal scores in the conference in Nicole Douglas. The senior forward began the year by scoring nine times in her team's first six fixtures, including a hat trick against Grambling on Sept. 14 and she's currently tied for third in the Pac-12 in goals. The Sun Devils also have one of the conference leaders in assists in junior Lucy Johnson, who has passed out six helpers, putting her in a tie for second on the league leaderboard.
All Time Against Arizona State
The all-time series between Utah and ASU is all square in the form of a 6-6-3 record, but the Utes are 3-1-3 against the Sun Devils since 2015. That stretch includes a 1-0 Utah victory over then-No. 17 ASU in 2020 and a 2-0 road triumph in 2018. Prior to that, the Sun Devils had taken three-in-a-row, a streak that started with a 4-1 decision in 2012. The first time these programs locked horns was in 1997 for a match that ended in a 1-0 Ute victory.
Last Time Against Arizona State
This is the second consecutive season the Utes are traveling to Tempe and they'll be attempting to erase the memory of a 4-1 defeat they suffered in Oct. of 2021. Courtney Brown did get Utah on the board with her fifth score of the season in the 11th minute, but it was one of the few bright spots for the visitors, as ASU found back of the net twice in each half to claim the win.
The Utes put together their best offensive showing of the season on Sunday, trampling Oregon State, 6-0, their highest goal total since 2017 and their 13 shots on goal were also Utah's most in five years. Included in that total were two scores from Brown, the first brace of her Ute career.
Back Line Brilliance
Over their last two matches, the Utah has allowed only one total shot on goal, which came on Sunday against OSU. Dating back to the start of 2013, that's the first time the Utes have permitted fewer than two combined shots on goal over two games.
Make it a Dozen
The number of goal scorers for Hideki Nakada's team has reached 12 after Brooke Ahern, Kaitlyn Conley and Kaela Standish added their names to the list on Sunday. This is the first time since 2015 the Utes have had at least a dozen players score a goal in a season.
First Career Goals
Over Utah's first 12 fixtures, five Utes had recorded their first collegiate goals, but three more players joined the club on Sunday. Standish, Conley and Ahern all made their first appearances on the scoresheet. The list of players who've scored their first career goals in 2022 also includes Maryn Granger, Ryann Cull, Kyla Jennings, Brooklyn Blaylock and Madeline Vergura.
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.
The Utes remained at No. 10 in the eighth edition of the United Soccer Coaches, which was released on Tuesday.
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.
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.