Kelly Isleib and the Utes open up MWC play against in-state rival BYU Saturday night at Ute Field.
Sept. 29, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah women's soccer team (4-6-2) opens its Mountain West Conference schedule Saturday against arch rival BYU (6-5-0) in Salt Lake City. The Cougars come to Ute Field for a 7 p.m. MT kickoff.
Utah has faced BYU more than any other opponent in team history with Saturday's match marking their 20th meeting. The Utes are 5-13-1 all-time against the Cougars, but have had the better of the results recently. Utah's first win over BYU came in current head coach Rich Manning's first year at the helm, on Nov. 14, 2002, ending a 12-match losing streak against the Cougars. That victory also marked Utah's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. Utah is now 5-2-1 against BYU under Manning, including a 2-1 mark at Ute Field.
In the last meeting, Utah squeezed out a 1-0 victory in Provo last October. The game-winning goal was scored by former Ute Melissa Crespo in the 60th minute of action. Current senior Katy Reineke (Salt Lake City) and junior Kelly Isleib (Park City, Utah) each earned an assist on the play.
Always a hard-fought contest, six of the last eight meetings between Utah and BYU have been decided by one goal. The Utes have won four of those matches, three by 1-0 scores, and the other by a 3-2 margin in overtime. BYU took the other two, both by scores of 2-1. The final two games during that eight-game span resulted in a 2-0 Ute win and a 0-0 draw.
The Utes are 5-3-1 (.611) all-time in MWC openers and are 2-0-1 in their last three. This year will mark the first time Utah and BYU have squared off in their MWC-opening contest.
Scouting The BYU Cougars...
BYU has one more tune-up game remaining before invading Ute Field as the Cougars will take on Utah State Thursday night in Logan, Utah. BYU just saw its three-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of No. 22-ranked California by a 2-1 score on the Bears' home turf.
Against common opponents, BYU holds a 3-1 mark to Utah's 2-2 record. Both teams defeated Cal Poly, while Utah beat Long Beach State after the 49ers had topped the Cougars in Provo, 3-0. BYU also beat Arizona and Georgia, who took respective 4-0 and 2-1 wins away from Ute Field.
The Cougar offense is led by Katie Larkin and Lauren Anderson each with seven points, but accumulated very differently. Larkin has hit the back of the net three times and notched one assist, while Anderson has scored only once but has five assists to her credit. Two other Cougars have two goals on the year, while another four have each struck once.
Defensively, BYU has seen two goalkeepers split time between the pipes. McKinsie Olson has played in six games, posting a 0.89 goals against average, making 20 saves and allowing five goals. Aleena Shelton has seen action in five games, allowing nine goals and making 11 saves, for a 1.99 GAA.
The Cougars are coached by Jennifer Rockwood, 14th season at the helm. She currently holds a 216-70-20 (.739) all-time winning percentage at BYU. Rockwood returned eight starters and 17 letterwinners from a 2007 team that went 17-4-2 and captured the MWC Tournament championship.
2008-09 Deseret First Duel Kicks Off Saturday...
Saturday night's matchup between Utah and BYU will mark the first contest of the 2008-09 Deseret First Duel rivalry series.
The rivalry series includes competition in the 12 sports the two universities compete in head-to-head during regular-season play. The Deseret First Duel will use a system that awards points to the winner of each head-to-head competition. A team trophy will be awarded to the individual winner of each sport. Points won by the individual sports will count toward each school's overall total. A granite traveling trophy will be awarded to the overall series champion each year.
Fans can follow the series at http://utahutes.cstv.com/ot/duel-home.html.
Resiliency Has Been Utah's Calling Card...
After a disappointing 3-0 loss at Washington last Friday, the Utes responded with a 1-0 shutout win at Cal Poly Sunday. Utah can be called nothing this year if not young and resilient. The team has played five overtime games in 12 matches on the year, capturing three of its four wins by one-goal margins. Three of Utah's four victories have come following losses, proving the Utes' ability to focus and bounce back from a losing effort.
Defense Keeps Another Clean Sheet...
With the 1-0 victory against Cal Poly Sunday, Utah has now recorded four shutouts on the season, posting a 3-0-1 record in those matches.
Utah's back line has seen a rotation of only seven players, comprised of three freshmen, three sophomores and one senior. Both starting center-backs are freshmen, while the two starting outside-backs are only in their second years of collegiate soccer. In addition, the goalkeeper responsible for organizing the defense is a junior, yet is in her first year as the team's starter. As the players mature and gain confidence with continued game experience, the Ute defense is one to watch as conference play approaches.
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 the upcoming rivalry game against BYU:
"Having been part of great rivalries through my career, I can say that BYU-Utah is one of the five most exciting matches every single year. The quality of play on the field, the atmosphere in the stands and what it means to the community make this a very special game. Our players look forward to this game every year, it's one of those games they will remember this game for the rest of their careers. I have no doubt there will be more great memories made this Saturday."
On the BYU Cougars: "BYU plays with tremendous passion, from the way they chase the ball through the midfield to the way they ferociously defend their own end. They have a couple of personality players who can make a difference in a game. When you put those things together, they make a very dangerous team."
On the squad's resiliency:
"Our team continues to show an amazing ability to bounce back and not let disappointments keep them down, and that is a quality that I think will serve us well in conference play.
"We have improved in a lot of areas. Our confidence on the ball and our ability to keep possession are at a very high level right now. Also our team defense continues to improve. I think some fine tuning as far as attacking and being more dangerous around the goal would help us become a much more complete team.
Islieb Nets Third Game-Winning Goal...
Junior midfielder Kelly Isleib has netted the game-winning goal in three of Utah's four victories this year, including last Sunday's 1-0 win at Cal Poly. With that strike, the Park City, Utah, native upped her season total to five goals, placing her in the top 10 in the conference rankings in goals, goals per game, points and points per game. Her three game-winners are currently tied for the MWC lead.
Incidentally, Isleib is following exactly the opposite pattern this year from that of the 2007 season. She did not find the back of the net last year until the 18th game of the season, but racked up 12 assists in that time period. Thus far she has four goals but no assists to her credit in 2008.
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.
Porter Continues Strong Play In The Back...
Freshman defender Lauren Porter has been one of the most consistent players anywhere on the field for Utah this year. She put forth another strong performance Sunday, playing a major role in the Utes' fourth shutout of the year. Following the game, Manning mentioned that she "was fantastic today" and that "she was repelling attack after attack and really made a difference out there."
Earlier this year, she scored her first career goal, heading in a Katy Reineke corner kick, tallying the eventual game-winner against Long Beach State. Porter has done a good job getting forward for the Utes on corners and set pieces, coming up with several close calls offensively before finally netting one.
Only a freshman, Porter has started all 12 games this season for the Utes at center-back. In fact, she has played every second of the more than 1,000 minutes the Utes have spent on the field this year, including all five overtime games.
Reineke Still Looking For Open-Play Goal...
Senior forward Katy Reineke has yet to score in the run of play this year, but it has not been for lack of effort. Reineke is the leading shot-taker on the team and tied for second-most shots taken in the conference, pulling the trigger 42 times and putting 20 of those attempts on frame. Her one goal on the year came against Oregon as she buried a penalty kick. That goal combined with her two assists are still good enough to make her the team's third-leading point scorer this year with four.
Reineke took up primary corner-kick duties from both sides of the field this year and has not disappointed with her service. The Utes finally capitalized last Friday as freshman Lauren Porter got a head on the ball and found the back of the net, scoring what would eventually become the game-winner against Long Beach State.
Reineke nearly found the net herself from a set piece against Cal State Fullerton, as her long distance strike bent low and to the right corner, forcing the Titan goalkeeper to make a very good diving save.
Rogers Logs Another Shutout Effort...
With a 1-0 win against Cal Poly last Sunday, junior goalkeeper Emalee Rogers (Centerville, Utah) has now recorded four shutouts on the year, all coming over the last six games.
Rogers currently leads the MWC with 49 saves and her four shutout-effort is tied for third among conference goalkeepers.