Utah finished the 2002 season with a 13-4-3 overall record and a 4-1-1 mark in the Mountain West Conference to place second. The Utes have recorded five consecutive winning seasons with a 62-32 mark since 1998.
The Utes advanced to their first-ever NCAA Tournament under first-year head coach Rich Manning last season. Utah defeated archrival BYU 3-2 in the first round and fell to top-seeded Portland 3-0 in the second round. Both games were played in Provo, Utah.
In the Mountain West Conference Tournament, Utah defeated Wyoming 1-0 in the quarterfinals before falling to New Mexico 1-0 in the semifinals.
Utah opened the season without a defeat through its first seven games (5-0-2), which was the best start in the program's eight-year history. The Utes also ran their record to 11-1-3 before suffering their second loss of the season.
The Utes' tenacious defense finished the 2002 season ranked 29th in the NCAA in goals-against average (0.84).
The Utes recorded six shutouts and scored three goals or more in eight games last season.
Head Coach Rich Manning was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year in his first year of directing the Ute program. Before taking over at the U., Manning helped lead Santa Clara as an associate head coach and assistant coach to four NCAA Tournament appearances, three NCAA College Cups (national semifinals) and the 2001 NCAA Championship. During his tenure, the Broncos went 84-11-2 and won three West Coast Conference championships.
Utah cracked the national Top 25 polls for the first time in 2002. After getting its first-ever win over a Top 25 team against No. 3 Portland (2-0) in the season opener on Sept. 1, Utah vaulted into the national rankings at No. 23 by Soccer America. Utah remained in and out of the Soccer America and SoccerBuzz.com polls until the last week of october.
Senior defender Maren Harper earned an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. She was one of only 58 student-athletes in the nation to earn this scholarship award. She upheld a 3.97 GPA in political science. Harper acquired first-team Verizon Academic All-America honors, first-team Verizon All-District honors and was selected to the third-team all-West Region Soccer Team. She was also named first team all-Mountain West Conference.
Utah's Shauna Gurr-Bingham finished her career with 21 assists, tied with former Ute star Staci Burt for first place. She also moved into third place in career points (71) and goals (30). Gurr-Bingham was named first team all-MWC and all-West Region third team.
Forward Missy Dennis led the team in goals (9) and points (21) and was tied for third on the team in assists (3) in 2002. Dennis earned second team all-Mountain West Conference honors. She was tied for third in the MWC in game-winning goals (3). Dennis scored two goals against nationally-ranked Kentucky.
Forward Julie Herdic collected the first of two Ute hat-tricks on the season by scoring three goals against Idaho State. As a result, she was named MWC Player of the Week on Sept. 16. Herdic ranked third on the team in both points (12) and goals (5) last season.
Midfielder/forward Bobbie Benegas was second on the team in assists (4) and fifth in both goals (2) and points (8).
Defender Katie Battazzo garnered first-team all-Mountain West Conference honors as a freshman in 2002. She was tied for second on the team in shot percentage (.250) and scored a game winning goal against Weber State last season.
Defender Jen Williams received second team all-Mountain West Conference honors last season as a defender. She started 16 of the 19 games she played.