Danielle Sample scored the winning goal in Utah's win over UNLV.
March 7, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY - It was a day for good soccer, important lessons, and a game-winning goal from a player on the comeback trail. The Utah women's soccer team continued its spring season last Saturday with a pair of 80-minute games at Peter Johann Memorial Field on the UNLV campus. The Utes fell to UCLA, 3-1, in the morning and then returned to defeat Mountain West Conference rival, UNLV by a 1-0 score.
"I think we got some good experience and learned some valuable lessons on the day," said Utah head coach Rich Manning. "I was very pleased with our ball movement and speed of play. I also thought we had some periods of good understanding on the field. We showed some signs of rust in our transitions and our defense. But we got some great feedback on where we are at the moment."
In the opener, UCLA rode a pair of goals from Bristyn Davis to create a 2-0 lead on the Utes. Davis scored her first in the 8th minute when she slotted a short ball passed charging Utah goalkeeper, Lynzee Lee, after being sent in behind the defense. The rest of the half saw both teams trying to find good rhythm. The Utes got solid play from McKenzie Joyner at left back. And forwards Chelsea Card, Hailey Marsh and Paola Marsenaro were able to create some shots and crossing opportunities before the halftime whistle.
The Utes played a very good second half. Trailing 1-0, Utah was able to keep the ball for good stretches and use the width to stretch the Bruin midfield and defense. Marsenaro got behind the UCLA defense a couple of times, but was unable to find the net.
In the 51st minute, the Bruins made it 2-0. Davis received a long ball over the top of the Utah defense and went in alone on second half goalkeeper, Ashley Mason. She knocked the ball into the low to the far corner.
Ute forward Hailey Marsh cut the deficit in half in the 68th minute. Sophomore midfielder, Whitney Dorsey, received the ball from a throw in deep in UCLA territory. She drove to the goal line at the near post, drawing goalkeeper Kelsey Davis, before slotting it across the goalmouth, where Marsh slammed it home from six yards out.
The Utes pressed for an equalizer but could not find the net. With six minutes remaining, Bruin forward, McCall Zerboni, put the game out of reach with a beautiful 18 yards volley.
"Playing a team of UCLA's quality was great for us," said Manning. "We played some good soccer. We moved the ball really well, especially in the second half. Even in some tight spaces, we were able to create some rhythm and be threatening in the attack. They forced us to be alert on defense and to make some quick decisions. We gave up some soft chances and it cost us. But we found some things we can go back and work on."
Utah returned in the afternoon and defeated host UNLV by a 1-0 score. Freshman Danielle Sample slammed home a cross from Chelsea Card in the first minute of the second half. The pace of the game was a bit slower than in the morning as fatigue started to set in. Both teams played with 10 players in the second half as injuries and illness forced the Rebels to be a short of players.
Sample, returning from an ACL tear to her knee last summer, scored her first goal in a Utah uniform for the winner. Just after the half, Chelsea Card and Paola Marsenaro combined for a give and go at the top of the UNLV box. Card then sent the ball across to the far post. Sample slammed home a first-time shot into the upper corner from 15 yards out. Katie Battazzo and Melissa Crespo, playing in the center of the defense, were able to hold off the Rebels until the final whistle.
"Playing two games in a day is always a lesson in physical toughness and concentration," added Manning. "There were patches where we were able to play cleanly. I thought our wide backs were very successful in getting into the attack. Katy Reineke, McKenzie Joyner, Tasia Duarte and Emily Campbell all got forward and created some problems for our opponent. That's an important component in our attack. If we can continue to develop in this area, it will make us a much more dangerous team."
"I'm encouraged by our play. We're excited to get back to the practice field and use the feedback we got last weekend. We expect to play even better soccer as the spring season continues."
The Utes will host the annual Alumni game at the Spence Eccles Field House on Saturday, March 25th at 5:00 PM. . Former Utes such as Staci Burt, Amy Kofoed Stover, Missy Dennis and Shauna Gurr Bingham are scheduled to appear. The public is invited to come and watch.
The rest of the Utah soccer spring schedule:
Saturday, March 25 Alumni Game Spence Eccles Field House 5:00 - 8:00 P.M.
Saturday, April 8 At BYU Outdoor Tournament 1:00 PM vs. UVSC 7:00 PM vs. BYU
Friday, April 14 At NIKE Campus in Beaverton, Oregon TBA vs. Oregon
Saturday, April 15 At University of Portland 7:00 PM vs. Portland