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Women’s Soccer Closes Out Home Schedule Against USC, UCLA

Oct 18, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – The final home week of the regular season has arrived for the University of Utah women's soccer team and it will include two stiff tests for the Utes, starting with a Thursday night match against the USC Trojans that will begin at 6 p.m. at Ute Field, followed on Sunday by a 12 p.m. matchup at home with the UCLA Bruins.

Date | Time: Thursday, Oct. 20 | 6:00 p.m. (MT)
Utah (6-5-3) vs. USC (9-2-1)
Location: Salt Lake City | Ute Field
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer
Date | Time: Sunday, Oct. 23 | 12 p.m. (MT)
Utah (6-5-3) vs. UCLA (13-1-0)
Location: Salt Lake City | Ute Field
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @UtahWSoccer

Game Day Promotions
The Utes will be holding Trunk or Treat at Ute Field on Thursday, which will include games and candy and the festivities will begin at 5 p.m. The first 100 fans 12 and under will receive a Utah Trick or Treat tote bag. The halftime entertainment will include Greek Life dizzy bat penalty kicks.
Sunday's contest will be the Utes' Red Out game and all those in attendance are encouraged to wear red to the match. Fans can also snag Utah flags and red cowbells at the gate while supplies last.
Scouting USC
The Trojans entered 2022 aiming to make their ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and they have not skipped a beat under new head coach Jane Alukonis, who's guided them to a 5-1 mark in conference play. That record also has them tied with UCLA and Stanford for first place. USC's only loss in the Pac-12 was a 1-0 upset by Arizona on Oct. 6, which is the only league match in which the Trojans didn't score multiple times.
Only two players in the conference have racked up more points than USC's Croix Bethune, who has 22. The senior from Georgia has been credited with at least one point in eight of the 11 matches she's played in, including a pair of five-point showings against TCU and Oregon. Bethune, who is also the reigning Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year, is one of three Trojans who's been named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week in 2022, joining a list that also includes Simone Jackson and Nicole Payne.
All Time Against USC
The Trojans and Utes first met in 1995 and that match ended in a 3-1 USC triumph and USC has built an 9-3-3 advantage over Utah in the all-time series. The rivalry started with the Trojans taking six of the first eight meetings, with the Utes winning for the first time in 2011 and again in 2013. Utah's most recent victory over USC came in March of 2021, when Ute Field hosted a 2-0 triumph by the home team over a Trojan squad ranked No. 14 nationally. All three of Utah's victories over USC occurred in Salt Lake City.
Last Time Against USC
The Utes and Trojans met at McAlister Field in Los Angeles in the fall of 2021 and USC won, 7-0.
Scouting UCLA
Much like USC, UCLA is also rolling with a first-year head in coach in former Stanford assistant Margueritte Aozasa and her tenure started with 13 consecutive victories. That run included a Sept. 4 road win over then-No. 1 North Carolina, which propelled the Bruins to a No. 1 national ranking. A 1-0 loss to Stanford on Friday is the only blemish on UCLA's record.
All Time Against UCLA
The Utes and Bruins collided for the first time in 2004 and Utah won that initial meeting, 2-1, but UCLA owns the overall edge in the form of a 9-2-2 record against the Utes. That mark includes a four-match win streak that started in 2017 and included a 2-0 victory in the spring of 2021, the last time these teams met at Ute Field. The last time Utah defeated UCLA was in 2016 by a score of 2-0.
Last Time Against UCLA
The Bruins were ranked No. 3 when the Utes traveled to Wallis Annenberg Stadium in October and came away with a 1-1 tie. Kennedy Faulknor put the home team ahead in the 39th minute, but less than two minutes later, Courtney Brown put one in the back of the net and neither side could break that deadlock. UCLA outshot Utah 21-8, but the Utes were able to blunt each attack to earn a point in Los Angeles.
Consecutive Clean Sheets
The Utes have posted back-to-back shutouts, bankrupting Oregon State and Arizona State in their last two matches, the first time they've accomplished that feat in 2022. Utah will now be attempting to collect three straight clean sheets for the first time since 2019.
Providing Assistance
Five different Utes have picked up multiple assists in 2022, the most in since the same number logged at least two assists in 2018. The team leader in that statistic is Ryann Cull, who has four, while Madeline Vergura, Kelly Bullock, Courtney Brown and Luisa Delgado have each contributed two. Cull's four helpers are the most by a Utah freshman since Natalee Wells also logged four in 2016.  
Goals Galore
The Utes put together their best offensive showing of the season on Oct. 9, 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.
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 Oct. 9. 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 Oct. 9, when Standish, Conley and Ahern all made their initial 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.

The Lone Granger
On Sept. 23, Granger tallied the first score of her career and it proved to be a game-winning goal against Arizona. Her performance earned her the title of Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. Granger was the first Utah player to receive this award since Tavia Leachman in 2019. 
For Openers
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.
Regional Rankings
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.
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
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.

Fans can follow along on social media (Twitter: @UtahWSoccer | Instagram: @UtahWSoccer | Facebook: