Lauren Porter wins a header against Arizona. Porter and the Utes look to get back in the win column on the road this weekend.
Sept. 2, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah women's soccer team (1-3-0) gets back on the road this weekend as the Utes head to the Pacific Northwest for a pair of games. They will take on Oregon Friday, Sept. 5, at 8 p.m. MT, and Oregon State Sunday, Sept. 7, at 1 p.m. MT.
Utah will be looking to get back in the win the column after dropping back-to-back home games last weekend. Following Friday night's 4-0 loss to Arizona, the Utes dropped a tight 2-1 contest to No. 19 Georgia, arguably controlling the run of play for most of the contest. After giving up an early second-half goal, Utah responded less than three minutes later as freshman midfielder Chelsea Forbes (Bountiful, Utah) netted her first career goal to draw the game even. Georgia took advantage of an opportunity with less than five minutes left, scoring on a header to steal the victory.
Utah enters Friday night's contest unbeaten against Oregon, holding a 4-0-1 record against the Ducks, including a 1-0-1 mark in Eugene. Against the Pac-10 Conference, the Utes hold a 19-14-2 record, including a 6-7-2 mark on the road.
Utah and Oregon have a history of tightly-contested affairs. In their last meeting, Utah posted a 2-0 victory in Salt Lake City in 2007. The Utes netted a goal in each half, the first coming from the now-graduated Kiley Jones. The second score came from sophomore Erin Dalley, currently redshirting due to a knee injury.
The first time the two teams met was in Eugene in 1996, the second year of the Utah soccer program's existence. After capturing a 3-2 victory, the Utes would go on to win the subsequent meeting in Salt Lake City, 4-3, in 1997. 2002 saw the two teams play to a 1-1 draw, before Utah won their next two matchups by 2-0 scores.
Utah's meeting with Oregon State this Sunday will mark the first-ever clash between the two squads.
Scouting The Oregon Ducks...
Oregon (1-2-0) enters this weekend following a home weekend split that saw the Ducks pick up a 1-0 win against Utah State, then fall to No. 25-ranked Purdue, 3-1. In their season-opener, the Ducks dropped a 3-1 decision to No. 6 Portland on the Pilots' home turf.
All three of Oregon's goals have come from different players, with Teresa Bowns, Jessica Goodell and Allison Newton all finding the mark. Bowns has also added an assist to lead the Ducks this season with a total of three points. She was also the team's leading returning player coming into the season, having tallied five goals and six assists for 16 points in 2007.
Oregon returned nine starters this year from a 2007 squad that went 8-8-4, finishing seventh in the Pac-10. In the Preseason Pac-10 poll, the Ducks were picked to finish in that same position.
The Ducks are coached by Tara Erickson, now in her fourth year, who holds a 30-25-7 record (.540) at the helm for Oregon.
Scouting The Oregon State Beavers...
Oregon State carries a 2-1-0 record into this weekend, including a 2-1 victory over Utah State in its last outing. The Beavers' other win came in their season-opener against Portland State, also by a 2-1 score. Both victories were captured at home. OSU's loss was on a neutral pitch in Palo Alto, Calif., in a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Boston College.
The Beavers' leading scorer is Melissa Peck, who has netted a pair of goals, including one in each of the team's victories. Rachel Axon has also added a goal and an assist to the offense. Defensively, OSU's leading goalkeeper is Colleen Boyd, with a 1.12 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .833 on 10 stops.
The Beavers brought back six starters from the 2007 squad that posted a 7-10-3 record and finished last in the Pac-10 standings. In the Preseason Pac-10 poll, Oregon State was voted to finish at the bottom of the table once again in 2008.
OSU is led by first-time head coach Linus Rhode.
From The Mind of Manning...
Quotes from Utah head coach Rich Manning regarding his squad, this week's opponents and other items of note:
On Getting Back On The Road Against Oregon And Oregon State:
"We have a brand new team but we already have four games under our belt. Hopefully we can perform a little bit better on this road trip than the last one. I think all of our players are excited about the challenge of facing two Pac-10 teams in great facilities. It feels like we are hitting our stride and this weekend will be a good challenge for us."
On Bouncing Back From The Two-Loss Weekend:
"We are a young team but we are making progress each game. We have been fortunate that all four of our games have really come down to the wire so far. We have gained some good experience and I think it will help us going forward. It is still early in the season and as we continue to improve I really feel that our results will turn around."
Overall Impressions Of His Team Through Four Games:
"The phrase that keeps coming to mind is `a work in progress'. I feel very positive and confident in the steps that we have taken and the experience we have gained. Whether it was fighting through two overtime games in sticky weather in the southeast or coming back quickly to tie that game right after Georgia scored, we have seen signs of a team with great character. I really think it is just a matter of time before that spirit equals will transform itself into results."
Isleib Anchors The Midfield...
Junior Kelly Isleib has earned acclaim from Utah and opposing coaches alike, displaying the ability to consistently slip defenders and advance the ball down the field.
The Utes' leading point-scorer thus far, Isleib has found the back of the net twice, once in each of the first two games on the year. She has also shown the ability to perform anywhere on the field that head coach Rich Manning has asked her to play, proving a dangerous target at the forward position as well in the midfield. Isleib entered the year needing just six helpers to become the all-time career leader in assists at Utah. She already stands in third place in that category with 17, and is chasing the career mark of 22 held by Amanda Feigt (2003-06). Last year she set a new school record for assists in a single season, dishing out 13.
Forbes Finds Scoring Form...
Freshman midfielder Chelsea Forbes collected her first career goal Sunday against No. 19 Georgia. The strike pulled Utah even less than three minutes after going down 1-0 on its home turf.
For the season, Forbes has gotten off three shots, testing the opponents' goalkeeper twice. The freshman from Bountiful, Utah has appeared in all four of Utah's games this season, making three starts as an attacking midfielder.
Woodfield Cracks The Stat Sheet...
When the aforementioned Forbes scored her first career goal, freshman Kellie Woodfield also grabbed her first career points on the same play, as she provided the assist.
Woodfield, who hails from Provo, Utah, has appeared in all four games for the Utes and has also started three games. A versatile player, Woodfield has contributed to the Utes' cause on both sides of the ball, appearing on the back line and in the midfield.
Hair Proving To Be A Handful...
Sophomore forward Lauren Hair still holds only one assist on the stat sheet, but has been wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. Hair was responsible for feeding Morgan Skeen, who was credited with the game-winning assist on Kelly Isleib's double-overtime goal at UNC Greensboro. Hair also made herself known on Sunday against No. 19 Georgia, beating the Bulldogs' All-SEC center back head-to-head, to set up multiple scoring opportunities that the Utes couldn't capitalize on.
Skeen and Porter Stand Out On Defense...
Sophomore Morgan Skeen (left) and freshman Lauren Porter (below right) have been early-season standouts on the Utah defense. After missing half of the 2007 season with a knee injury, Skeen has returned in good form and put forth a solid performance against No. 19-ranked Georgia. She has also proven to be a versatile player, sliding up into the midfield at times, and provided the game-winning assist on Kelly Isleib's game-winning strike at UNC Greensboro.
Porter has solidified a starting role in Utah's back four as a freshman. A midfielder by trade prior to joining the Utes, she has made a smooth transition. At 5-foot-9, Porter has provided a good heading presence on defense and has come forward to try use her height on corner kicks.