Erin Dalley scored her seventh goal of the season to help give Utah a win over Colorado.
Nov. 4, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY - On a snowy Friday night at Ute Field, the Utah women's soccer team scored two goals the first 35 minutes of the second half and held off a late Colorado rally as they were a man down to get a 2-1 win in the final game of the season.
As rain changed to snow at the start of the second half, Utah scored the first goal of match in the 55th minute. Erin Dalley corralled a cross sent in from the left side to the middle of the box, made a couple of moves and as she was falling to the turf managed to get off a right-footed shot from 10 yards away. She drove it just inside the right post for her seventh goal of the season.
"I thought we were a little impatient in the first half," said Ute head coach Rich Manning. "It was like we were trying to throw bombs with through-ball after through-ball, and we needed to possess the ball better. I thought we were much more patient in the second half. Our forwards played really well and got into good spots. We were unlucky not to get a few more [goals]."
The Utes kept the pressure on the Buffaloes for the better part of the next 25 minutes and got their second goal on a set piece. Avery Ford arced in a corner kick from the left side that Harley Spier headed it in from five feet away on the right side of the frame.
Utah appeared to be coasting to a win until Katie Taylor drew a red card in the 83rd minute, leaving the Utes a man down. Colorado head coach Bill Hempen elected to pull his keeper soon thereafter.
The strategy worked, and the match tightened up to a one-goal affair at the 86:09 mark when Colorado's Maggi Steury managed to work her way into open space behind the Ute defense and blasted a ball in from 12 yards away.
"I thought we played a really, really good second half," Manning said. "I guess we wanted to have tryouts for Ringling Brothers' the last 10 minutes because it really got to be a circus out there. But we played a fantastic second half and I was proud to see that.
The Utes outshot Colorado 14-11 and had a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. The Buffaloes finished 4-13-2 overall and 1-9-1 in the Pac-12.
Utah, picked 11th in the Pac-12 preseason poll, will finish no worse than sixth in its first season in the conference with a 6-5 record. The Utes also finished above .500 overall, going 10-9-1.
"I kept thinking about the four seniors during the introductions as their accomplishments were being read, and I forget sometimes what great students and people they are," Manning said. "And watching them make mature decisions out there, especially under pressure at the end of the game, and seeing them be able to communicate, make good decisions, and execute them, that's what you want to see as a coach.