Midfielders Avery Ford (foreground, #11) and Harley Spier (behind) and the rest of the Utes host two important home games this week.
Aug. 20, 2012
Match Info - Game 2 vs. Southern Utah
Match-up: Utah (0-1-0) vs. SUU (0-1-0)
Date: Thursday, Aug. 23
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. MT
Location: Salt Lake City - Ute Field
Match Info - Game 3 vs. BYU
Match-up: Utah (0-1-0) vs. BYU (1-0-0)
Date: Saturday, Aug. 25
Kickoff: 1 p.m. MT
Location: Salt Lake City - Ute Field
Television: Pac-12 Networks - in SLC, Comcast chs. 37, 410, 757
News and Notes
This Week's Action
The University of Utah women's soccer team (0-1) hosts a pair of in-state opponents at Ute Field this week. First up is Southern Utah (0-1), Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Utes will then host BYU (1-0) in the annual Deseret Duel Rivalry Series match-up, Saturday at 1 p.m., which can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks (see info below). All three teams are coming off overtime games in their respective season openers.
Defense, Midfield Strong in Season Debut, Questions Remain in Attacking Third
Utah's defense and midfield had a fairly impressive 2012 debut, showing good poise and solid possession play for much of the game. Despite starting three brand new defenders, including two freshmen, the communication in the back was very good. Freshman Katie Rigby started the game at right back, while fellow debutant Megan Trabert was at center back. Redshirt junior Monica Okapal, who missed the last two seasons with injury, played the other center back position. All three had very good games on the Ute back line.
The Ute midfield had a good game as well, showing a knack for possession and crisp passing, especially in the first half. As the game wore on the crispness faded slightly, but offensive chances increased. Utah's starting midfield consisted of sophomore Avery Ford, who is coming off her Pac-12 All-Freshman campaign in 2011, alongside junior Leslie Muirhead and freshman Kaycee Buckley. Buckley proved to be a handful in the attack, providing a strong foot, quality crosses and aggressive, physical play.
After out-shooting Utah State 16-8, but failing to find the back of the net, the Utes hope to see their offense emerge this week. That may be helped by the return of sophomore forward Katie Taylor, who started every game last season, but was forced to sit out Friday due to a red card in the final game of 2011.
Mulcock Solid in Goal
Junior Cheyanne Mulcock played well in goal against Utah State, making three saves. Two of her stops came in the second half on shots from Jennifer Flynn, who sent two long-range attempts at the Ute goal. One was a rocket from approximately 30 yards out, which Mulcock astutely tipped over the crossbar. The other was a lofted ball that required a back-peddling adjustment, which she handled with ease. On the goal allowed in overtime, another shot from Flynn deflected off a Ute defender's hip and left Mulcock little chance to make a save.
Backing up Mulcock is redshirt freshman Lindsey Luke, a transfer from Wake Forest.
BYU Match to be Televised Live on Pac-12 Networks
Saturday's game against BYU will mark Utah's inaugural appearance on the Pac-12 Networks. The game will be broadcast live from Ute Field with JB Long delivering play-by-play, while Kyndra de St. Aubin provides analysis. In Salt Lake City, Pac-12 Networks is carried on Comcast. Pac-12 Mountain is ch. 37, the national Pac-12 Network is ch. 410 and Pac-12 Mountain HD is ch. 757.
The Utes will appear live on the Pac-12 Networks a total of seven times this year. Other scheduled televised games include: Sept. 28 vs. Washington State, Oct. 5 vs. Stanford, Oct. 12 vs. Oregon, Oct. 19 at USC, Oct. 25 at Arizona State and Nov. 2 at Colorado.
Scouting this Weekend's Opposition
Southern Utah Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to UC Riverside in their season opener. After taking a 1-0 lead on a goal from freshman Madison Wood, SUU allowed a first-half equalizer and then the game-winning goal in the first overtime frame.
Offensively, Southern Utah's top returning player is senior forward Stacey Brinkman, who netted six goals to go with four assists last season. Brinkman did not play against UC Riverside. In goal for the Thunderbirds was senior Charly Booth, who made seven saves in the contest. Booth started about half of SUU's games as a junior, posting a goals-against-average of 2.18 with 26 saves and 19 goals allowed, and earned a record of 3-4-1.
Southern Utah is directed by rookie head coach Becky Hogan, a native of West Jordan, Utah, and a 1998 graduate of Nebraska.
BYU took a 3-2 overtime victory in its season-opener at UC Irvine on Friday. Sophomore Jaiden Thornock scored the golden goal in overtime. The Cougars held a 2-0 lead on goals from junior Niki Fernandes and freshman Michelle Murphy. However they conceeded a pair of goals in the second half, including a penalty kick in the 72nd minute and the equalizer in the last minute of regulation, which forced overtime.
BYU's top returning offensive player is Carlee Payne Holmoe, who posted five goals and nine assists for 19 points last year. She finished Friday's game with two shots.
In goal for BYU was junior Erika Owens, who made four saves. Owens' previous career action consisted of just two games in 2009, as she totaled two saves.
The Cougars are coached by Jennifer Rockwood, now in her 17th season as BYU's head coach. Rockwood has amassed a 275-85-31 record at the helm.
Despite their proximity, Thursday's game will mark the first-ever match-up between Utah and Southern Utah. Conversely, Saturday's opponent, BYU, is one of the most-often faced teams in the Utes' history. Utah holds a 5-18-1 record against the Cougars, with a 2-8 mark at home. BYU has won the last four meetings in the series, with three of four by one-goal margins. In last year's match in Provo, the score was tied at 0-0 midway through the second half, before a Ute defender recieved her second yellow card and was dismissed from the game. BYU went on to capture a 4-0 win.
Fans can listen to a live audio stream of all Utah women's soccer home games, with play-by-play from Gavin McCallister. The live stream can be accessed at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/utah.portal#.
Season-Opener: Utes Fall in Overtime to Utah State, 1-0
Utah fell to Utah State by a 1-0 score in overtime in the season-opener Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. Despite dominating the offensive scoresheet, it was a deflected shot that broke the tie and took down the Utes.
After two scoreless periods, Flynn found the back of the net for the golden goal just over three minutes into overtime. In near identical fashion to Utah's 2-1 loss to the Aggies in 2009 on the same field, Flynn blasted a ball from the right side that deflected off a Utah defender and made its way into the goal.
Utah dominated much of the offensive chances in the second half, outshooting Utah State 12-2 in the frame, but was not able to find a way past USU goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford. The Utes' best chance came off the foot of redshirt junior forward Allie Wisner. As a ball deflected through the box and fell at her feet, Wisner tried to get a quick shot off but didn't hit it squarely and Mulford kept the Utes off the scoresheet. Rigby, who started her collegiate debut and acquitted herself very well, also had a dangerous opportunity, putting a header on frame off an Ashton Hall corner kick, which Mulford tipped over the bar.
Defending NCAA champion Stanford was the clear preseason favorite in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll, leading the voting with 120 points and receiving 10 out of 12 first-place votes. The rest of the field, in order: 2. UCLA (111); 3. California (93); 4. Oregon State (86); 5. Washington (75); 6. Arizona State (70); 7. USC (66); t8. Utah (49); t8. Washington State (49); 10. Oregon (36); 11. Colorado (25); 12. Arizona (12).
Get Your 2012 Utah Soccer Season Ticket Scarf!
Show your support for Utah Soccer all season long with your 2012 Utah Soccer Season Ticket Scarf! Get yours for just $20 by calling 801-581-UTIX or visit www.UtahUtes.com. Your scarf is your season ticket!