Goalkeeper Ashley Mason held Arizona and Arizona State scoreless last weekend.
April 18, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah women's soccer team wrapped up its spring season on the road with a pair of excellent performances against Arizona and Arizona State. The Utes opened the weekend Saturday with a 1-0 victory over Arizona and continued their strong play Sunday resulting in a 0-0 draw with Arizona State.
Saturday's game against Arizona, the 2004 Pacific-10 champions, was highlighted by some excellent defensive play by the Utes, as well as the ability to create dangerous scoring opportunities despite the near-100 degree temperatures. The Utes opened the game strong and were able create a few scoring opportunities early in the game, including a header by Melissa Wayman that narrowly missed and ricocheted off the crossbar. Adele Letro, playing in a Ute uniform for the first time Saturday, also created a few close scoring chances as she was able to break thru a stingy Wildcat defense on numerous occasions.
Utah was finally able to break the scoreless tie in the 80th minute when McKenzie Joyner sent a floated cross in from the left side where Hailey Marsh was able to re-direct a powerful header to the near post.
The Utes were able to contain the Wildcats with great defensive effort from the back four, aided greatly by quality play from hometown favorite Michelle Deatherage. The defensive play by the Utes was especially encouraging, as it has been one of the main focuses of the spring season.
"Saturday was a great result against a very organized and hard-working opponent," commented Utah head coach Rich Manning. "We displayed a tremendous winning attitude for 90 minutes and were able to maintain a good level of play. There were a lot of great individual performances which helped produce an awesome team effort."
Utah faced its second Pac-10 foe in as many days on against Arizona State on Sunday at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. After a hard-fought game the day before, Sunday's match would prove to be a good physical test against a very dangerous and athletic ASU team.
The Utes received outstanding defensive efforts by the back four, who did a great job containing a very fast and skilled group of Sun Devil forwards. Tasia Duarte was superb in helping out defensively as well as getting forward to provide Utah with dangerous attacks. Amanda Sanchez and Kiley Jones were key in maintaining possession for the Utes and helping to create good scoring opportunities. Despite numerous scoring chances for both sides, neither team was able to capitalize.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ashley Mason was superb in goal, earning two shutouts on the trip.
"The weekend was a very good way to end our spring season," said Manning. "I am proud of the effort and attitude displayed by our team against two top teams. I am very encouraged by this past weekend in looking towards the fall and seeing how the lessons that we have learned in the spring will help us be successful in the fall."
The Utes open the 2005 regular season on the road against University of San Francisco on Aug. 26 at 7:00 p.m. (PDT).