Ashton Hall scored for the Utes against No. 2 UCLA this afternoon
Oct. 25, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah soccer received an early goal from Ashton Hall, her third of the season, and fought to a 1-1 draw against No. 2 UCLA on Friday afternoon. The Utes improved to 7-3-6, 3-2-2 in league play while the Bruins now sit at 13-1-2, 5-0-2 in Pac-12 action.
Hall dribbled through a handful of UCLA defenders and slammed home her third goal of the season in the 17th minute for a 1-0 lead. It was the first time all season that the Bruins had fallen behind in league play. In fact, UCLA had only trailed for 15 minutes this entire year entering today's match and led the nation with a 0.32 goals against average.
"I think everyone on the team has a good mindset," head coach Rich Manning added. "They want to play these top teams and be aggressive against them. They are not content with just sitting back defensively. We want to get forward and play against top competition."
The lead did not last long as the visitors equalized five minutes later through Taylor Smith. It was her third goal of the season and set up by Sarah Killion. Despite allowing the goal, Lindsey Luke finished with seven saves, one shy of her season high.
Utah registered the first shot on goal when a defensive miscue allowed Katie Taylor to get a look. The junior had a chance to get her side on the board but Katelyn Rowland reacted quickly for the Bruins. Luke made two big saves at the other end and Ute defenders blocked another pair of tries before Hall's goal. After the Bruins tallied, Luke made three more stops to keep the game knotted heading to intermission.
"I think once we got used to their speed, we settled into the game nicely," Manning said. "I was pleased with the fact we played with confidence - attacking them throughout the game. That's something this team and this program prides itself on. We aren't afraid and we aren't going to sit back."
Right off the opening kick in the second half, Avery Ford had a try go wide after another UCLA giveaway. Baylee Nielsen had another chance to try and grab the lead but also fired wide of goal in the 61st minute.
Luke was only tested once in the first 25 minutes of the period but Smith almost nabbed her second goal when she hit the outside of the post in the 73rd minute. The sophomore only had to stop one more shot in the stanza as the game went into overtime.
"We adjusted to a lot of different components to their attack as the game moved along today," Manning said. "Lindsey had a great game and our back four, Jenny Hutton, Jill Robison, Megan Trabert and Monica Okapal, along with Sarah Duncan, was very strong."
Ford had Utah's best chance at winning the game in overtime but her attempt went awry in the 103rd minute. Luke was called into action one more time, stopping Sam Mewis with one minute remaining and a Ute defender blocked the rebound try by Smith.
"It's our third season so we know the most important game is the next one," Manning stated. "USC is coming in Sunday and we expect it to be a tough game. They all are at this point in the season."
Utah is back in action on Sunday at Ute Field when it takes on USC. Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m. and there will be a Halloween contest with prizes given to fans with the best costume. All fans who wear their costume will receive free candy and a promotional prize.