Senior midfielder Bobbie Benegas was impressive in her debut in goal.
April 14, 2004
PROVO, Utah - The Utah women's soccer team went undefeated in three games on Friday, April 9 at the BYU Invitational to end its spring season.
Utah did not yield a goal despite an injury to starting goalkeeper Ashley Mason in warm-ups prior to the first match against Utah State. Senior Bobbie Benegas played goalkeeper for the first time ever and posted three shutouts. The 5-2 midfielder made a total of five saves over the span of three shortened 50-minute games (two 25-minute halves).
"Bobbie was awesome! For never having played the position she had amazing instincts and looked like a veteran," said Utah head coach Rich Manning. "She was like a sweeper/keeper out there."
Utah kicked off the first game short-handed as a number of players were still attending early afternoon classes back at the U. That didn't seem to slow down the Utes as they handled Utah State 2-0.
The Utes controlled ball possession in the match against the Aggies. Utah struck first at the 39:42 mark when Amber Brower took a pass from freshman forward Hailey Marsh inside the box, beat a defender, and slotted home the first goal of the game.
Less than five minutes later sophomore Carisse Winegar scored when central defender Melissa Wayman dribbled half the field and slipped Winegar a thru ball. Winegar raced onto the pass and whipped it past the USU goalkeeper. The Utes outshot the Aggies 6-2.
In the afternoon match, the Utes faced Southern Utah. Despite outshooting the Thunderbirds 11-1, the Utes only managed a lone goal. It came nine minutes into the second half when freshman right back Tasia Duarte made an overlapping run down the right flank, beat a defender near the SUU end line, and slotted a ball on the ground to Winegar, who hammered home the game-winner. Benegas faced only one shot in the game and confidently made the save required to post her second shutout on the day and the second of her career.
In the evening, the Utes renewed their rivalry with BYU. As is usually the case when two teams hook up, the game was hard-fought, ending in a 0-0 tie. However, Utah had many opportunities to win the match and outshot BYU 6-2. Once again, Benegas was equal to the task, recording two saves.
"This was a great way to end the spring season," said Manning. "The BYU game was the closest thing to a fall game you are going to get during the spring season. I was very pleased with the way we played during the entire tournament. Our ball possession was much improved. We passed the ball well in all three matches and really played at a high level."
The Utes kickoff the 2004 regular season on Friday, Aug. 27 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. In addition to welcoming eight incoming freshmen, the Utes are looking forward to the return of senior midfielder Esther Imotan, sophomore defender Katie Battazzo, and sophomore forward Amanda Feigt. All three missed the spring season.
Imotan, a creative playmaker, is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last December. Battazzo, who was an all-MWC first team selection as a freshman in 2002, suffered a serious knee injury in the final game of the regular season that year against BYU. She has been out since then while recovering. Feigt, a freshman All-American and the MWC Freshman of the Year in 2003, missed the spring season due to her commitments to the Ute track team.