Sophomore forward Katie Taylor and the Utes put their six-game home win streak on the line against Stanford on Friday.
Oct. 1, 2012
Utes Extend Home Win Streak to Six Matches with Weekend Sweep
Despite conceding its first goal at home this year in a 2-1 overtime victory on Friday, Utah remained undefeated at Ute Field this season with a 5-0 record. The Utes have won six consecutive home games and 13 of their last 14 going back to last season. With Sunday's 2-0 shutout of Washington, Utah has now posted four clean sheets at home this season.
The Utes have posted eight shutouts at home over the last two seasons. Since dropping the 2011 home opener, Utah's only loss at Ute Field came in overtime to No. 6 UCLA, 1-0.
Luke Shines with 17 Saves in Sweep of Washington Teams
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Lindsey Luke was a stalwart in goal for the Utes last weekend. Despite allowing Utah's first goal at home this season, Luke made a career-high 10 saves against Washington State to keep the Utes in a position to net the game-tying goal and ultimately go on to win in overtime.
Luke backed that performance up with seven-save shutout effort against Washington on Sunday, including several highlight-reel stops, diving in both directions. She has now posted four solo shutouts on the season and amassed 44 saves in nine games, averaging nearly five saves per contest.
Including all games, Luke is ranked No. 2 in the conference in goals against average (0.64) and save percentage (.880). She is also tied for third in solo shutouts (4) and ranks fourth in saves (44) and saves per game (4.89).
Harley's In-Spier-ing Weekend
Junior midfielder Harley Spier netted two goals on the weekend, including a game-tying header with less than two minutes to play against Washington State that forced overtime and set the Utes up for a dramatic victory at home on Friday. She then scored an insurance goal against Washington on Sunday, which was a product of pure hustle and determination. Spier followed up her teammate's shot and was in perfect position to bury the rebound as the UW goalkeeper couldn't wrangle in a loose ball after making the original save.
Ford Comes Through with Clutch Assists
Sophomore midfielder Avery Ford assisted on both game-winning goals last weekend with two perfect passes on very different plays, twice putting her teammates in ideal positions to be successful. In Friday's 2-1 overtime victory against Washington State, Ford played a perfectly-weighted thru-ball to sophomore forward Katie Taylor, allowing her to run onto it and chip it over the goalkeeper for the golden goal.
Sunday against Washington, Ford delivered a cross in exactly the right place for freshman defender Megan Trabert to rise up and bury a header for the ultimate game winner in a 2-0 victory.
Ford, who was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team in 2011, is making a strong case for all-conference honors as a sophomore. In addition to her two goals and two assists on the season, Ford has provided a consistent defensive presence in the midfield and is a key figure in leading Utah's transition from defense to offense going forward.
Utes Jump Three Spots in Regional Rankings, Listed at No. 5 in Pacific Region
In Monday's NSCAA regional rankings, the Utes jumped up to No. 5 in the Pacific region on the back of its weekend sweep. Utah had been listed at No. 8 for four consecutive weeks, after entering the poll at No. 10 on Aug. 28. This week's oppoennts, Stanford and California, are ranked No. 1 and No. 4 in the region, respecitvely.
Scouting this Weekend's Opposition
No. 2 Stanford Cardinal
Stanford enters the weekend as the only Pac-12 team with a perfect league record, standing at 3-0, with all three games being played at home. The Cardinal posted a 5-1 rout of Oregon State on Thursday, then followed with a 2-1 win against Oregon on Sunday. Friday's game at Ute Field will mark Stanford's first conference road test of the season.
The Cardinal is led offensively by Courtney Verloo, whose team-best 15 points have come on four goals and seven assists. Natalie Griffen and Mariah Noguiera are tied for the team scoring lead with five goals apiece. A total of 12 players have scored at least once for Stanford, with seven netting multiple goals.
Defensively, Aly Gleason has played the majority of minutes in net for Stanford, posting a 5-1-1 record with a GAA of 0.66 with an .821 save percentage. She has made 23 saves and allowed five goals. Emily Oliver and Lindsay Dickerson have also appeared in three games apiece, combining for seven saves and a 4-0 mark as the goalkeepers of record.
Head coach Paul Ratcliffe is in his 10th season directing the Cardinal and owns a career record of 167-36-20 (.794).
California Golden Bears
California and Utah are tied for third in the Pac-12 standings entering this week, each with a 2-1 league record. Cal is coming off a sweep of the Oregon schools as well, posting a 2-0 shutout of the Ducks and a 3-1 win over Oregon State.
Cal's top offensive threat is Ifeoma Onumonu, who leads the Bears with five goals to go with two assists. Betsy Hassett, Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick and Grace Leer have each scored four goals, while Hassett leads the team with four assists.
Emily Kruger has played the marjoity of time in net for California, making 26 saves and allowing eight goals. He GAA stands at 0.83 to go with a .765 save percentage. She owns an 8-2 record with four shutouts.
California is coached by Neil McGuire, who owns a 66-38-12 (.621) record in his sixth season at Cal.
Utah is 1-3 all-time against Stanford. Friday's game will mark their first-ever meeting at Ute Field. In their last matchup, then No. 1-ranked Stanford won a 4-0 decision at home in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Utes are 0-4 all-time against California, with an 0-1 record at home. Their last match resulted in a 2-0 Golden Bear win in Berkeley.
2012 Goal Tracker: Nine Different Utes Find the Back of the Net
Utah has had nine different players score goals this season: Spier (3), Taylor (3), Ford 2), sophomore forward Jill Robison (2), and freshman forward Baylee Nielsen (2), have each scored multiple goals. Junior defender Jenny Hutton, junior forward Allie Wisner, sophomore forward Ashton Hall and freshman defender Megan Trabert have each scored once. Hall, Nielsen, Hutton, Trabert and Wisner all scored their first career goals this season, while Robison (2), Taylor (2), Ford, Trabert and Wisner have each tallied game-winning goals.
Listen Live to All Utah Home Games!
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#.
Utah to Appear in Five Upcoming Live Televised Games
The Utes are 2-0 in televised games in 2012 and will appear live on the Pac-12 Network five more times this season. Upcoming televised games include: Oct. 5 vs. Stanford, Oct. 12 vs. Oregon, Oct. 19 at USC, Oct. 25 at Arizona State and Nov. 2 at Colorado.
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.
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!