Rich Manning has led the Utes to the MWC Tournament title the past two seasons.
Nov. 1, 2005
Utah (13-5-1, 6-0-1 MWC), which has six wins and a tie in its last seven games, plays in the Mountain West Conference Championship Wednesday through Saturday at Peter Johann Memorial Field on the campus of UNLV in Las Vegas, Nev. The Utes, who earned the tournament's No. 1 seed by virtue of winning the MWC regular season title, play No. 8 seed Air Force (4-15-1, 0-7-0 MWC) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. (PST). Should Utah win, it would face the winner of No. 4 Wyoming vs. No. 5 New Mexico in the semifinals on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. (PST). The championship game is Saturday at 12:00 p.m. (PST).
Live audio broadcasts of the Utes' games in the Mountain West Conference Championship will be available on UtahUtes.com as a part of Utah All-Access, a premium multi-media package that can be purchased on the web site. Live stats will also be available free of charge. Video of Saturday's championship game will be streamed live on TheMWC.com and will be shown tape delayed nationally on CSTV Sunday at 8:00 p.m. (MST).
In The Rankings
Utah is receiving votes in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25 poll and is tied with Arizona for eighth in the West Region rankings.
The Utes are receiving votes in the Soccer Buzz Top 30 poll and listed 12th in its West Region rankings.
Utah is receiving votes in the Soccer Times Top 25 poll.
Mountain West Title Belongs To Utah
Utah clinched the Mountain West title with a 1-0 win at UNLV on Oct. 22. The Utes finished 6-0-1 in conference play. UNLV and BYU tied for second-place in the conference with 5-2-0 and 4-1-2 records, respectively. The Rebels will get the second seed after earning the tie break advantage by garnering the most points in conference play (3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss).
The Utes have won their second Mountain West Conference regular-season championship in the last three years, also claiming the title in 2003. The Utes won the MWC Tournament title in 2003 and 2004.
Scouting Air Force
The Falcons, seeded eighth in the MWC Tournament, are 4-15-1 overall and went 0-7-0 in conference games. Air Force concluded its regular season with a 3-0 loss to Wyoming at home.
Brittney Perkowski (F, 5-6, Jr.) leads the Academy with five goals and an assist. Meredith Benson (M, 5-8, Sr.) has three goals. Erin Wallace (GK, 5-4, Fr.) and Jennifer Drew (GK, 5-8, So.) have shared the goalkeeping duties. Wallace has a 1.96 goals-against average and 43 saves, while Drew has a 2.19 goals-against average and 35 saves. Head coach Marty Buckley has a 105-154-13 career in his 14th season at Air Force.
Utah leads the all-time series with Air Force 7-0. The two teams have never played on a neutral field. Earlier this season, the Utes defeated the Falcons 3-0 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.
The Cowgirls, seeded fourth in the MWC Tournament, are 9-6-3 overall and went 4-3-0 in conference play. Wyoming won both of its games last weekend, winning 3-0 at Air Force on Friday and 2-1 over Northern Colorado at home on Sunday.
Mercy Adetoye (F, 5-7, Sr.) leads UW with 10 goals and two assists. Tamika Wilson (F/M, 5-7, Fr.) has five goals and four assists. Ashley Sheppard (5-10, So.) has played the majority of the minutes at goalkeeper. She has a 1.05 goals-against average and 58 saves in 14 games this season. Head coach Anne Moore is 47-71-4 in her seventh season at Wyoming. She has a 54-100-16 career record in eight seasons.
Utah has won all 13 of its games against Wyoming, including all four games played on a neutral field. The Utes defeated the Cowgirls 2-0 on Oct. 13 in Salt Lake City. Utah defeated Wyoming 1-0 in their match-up last season in the MWC Tournament quarterfinals on Nov. 3 in Provo, Utah.
Scouting New Mexico
The Lobos, seeded fifth in the MWC Tournament, are 6-6-4 overall and went 3-3-1 in conference play. New Mexico defeated TCU 1-0 at home on Saturday to close out the regular season.
Kristine Sweat (F, 5-8, Jr.) led the Lobos with six goals and had one assist. Kaela Kelly (M, 5-2, Jr.) has a team-high three assists and two goals. Kristen Winters (GK, 5-8, Sr.) has a 0.77 goals-against average and 41 saves in 15 games this season. Head coach Kit Vela has a 30-50-11 career record in five seasons at New Mexico.
The Utes are 7-3-1 all-time against New Mexico and 1-1-0 in games played on a neutral field. Earlier this season, Utah defeated New Mexico 3-2 on Oct. 8 in Salt Lake City. The last time they met in MWC Tournament play, the Utes lost to the Lobos 1-0 on Nov. 7, 2002 in the semifinals in Provo, Utah.
Utah came back from a one-goal deficit to tie BYU 1-1 on Friday night at South Stadium in Provo, Utah. After a scoreless first half that was played through a steady drizzle, BYU got a goal from Annie Zwahlen in the 53rd minute. Katie Larkin volleyed a pass ahead to Zwahlen, who was in deep on the Ute defense and fired away from the left side. The shot deflected off of Utah defender Melissa Wayman, then slipped past keeper Ashley Mason.
The Utes tied it up in the 69th minute. Chelsea Card and Adele Letro worked the ball to Amanda Feigt, who drove down the left side of the field and blasted a left-footed diagonal shot top shelf from 15 yards out. It was the seventh goal of the season for the junior from Sandy, Utah.
Through the first 90 minutes, BYU had the advantage 13-6 in shots and 7-1 in corner kicks. However, the Utes were the aggressor in the overtime periods, setting up the only corner kick and outshooting the Cougars 2-1. Mason made seven saves in the game while BYU keeper Erika Woodbury had three.
Freshman forward Jen Christoffers has been out since Sept. 25 with a torn ACL.
Junior defender Tasia Duarte has been out since Sept. 25 with a fractured bone in her knee. Duarte is probable to come back this season.
Head Coach Rich Manning
Rich Manning is 55-17-9 in his fourth year at Utah. Last season he guided Utah to its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, its second consecutive MWC Tournament title and a 13-6-3 overall record. In 2003, Manning was named the West Region Coach of the Year by the NSCAA/adidas and Soccer Buzz. The Utes went 16-2-2, won the MWC regular-season (6-0-0) and tournament titles, and went to the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, Manning led Utah to a 13-4-3 mark, including a 4-1-1 record in Mountain West play, and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Before joining the Utah program, Manning was an assistant and associate head coach at Santa Clara (1998-2001).
On heading into the MWC Tournament - "While we are very proud of our performance during the regular season, we know that the road to the NCAA Tournament goes through the conference tournament. The conference has been very balanced this year. The teams are well coached. The defense and the goal keeping are of a very high level. So, all of our games have been tight. This week will be no different."
On playing Air Force - "We are focused on our first game against the Air Force Academy. Air Force relentlessly defends and plays with great determination. It will be a typical tournament game in which playing at a consistent level for 90 minutes or beyond will be important. I still think we have room for improvement in our passing and reading of the game. We've worked hard at it and, hopefully, we will see some progress on Wednesday."
MWC Statistical Rankings
In the team statistics as of Oct. 31, Utah ranks second in shots (14.05 per game), second in points (4.68 per game), second in goals per game (1.58), second in assists per game (1.53), third in goals-against average (0.71), tied for third in saves (4.32 per game), tied for second in shutouts (9), sixth in fouls (10.47 per game), and fourth in corner kicks (3.37 per game).
In the individual rankings as of Oct. 31, Adele Letro is third in shots per game (3.05), fourth in points per game (0.95), tied for fifth in goals per game (0.37), tied for 10th in assists per game (0.21) and tied for second in game-winning goals (3) ... Amanda Feigt is tied for fifth in goals per game (0.37) and tied for second in game-winning goals (3) ... Whitney Dorsey is tied for 10th in assists per game (0.21) ... Kim Lloyd is tied for 10th in assists per game (0.21) ... Katy Reineke is tied for 10th in assists per game (0.21) ... Ashley Mason is fifth in saves per game (4.21), second in shutouts (7) and second in goals-against average (0.73).
Utah Against Ranked Teams Under Manning
Utah is 5-5-1 against NSCAA/adidas Top 25 teams in four seasons under Rich Manning. In the Utes' four games against a ranked teams this season, Utah lost at No. 22 Arizona (1-0 OT) on Sept. 16, fell to No. 9 California (1-0 2OT) at home on Sept. 25, lost at No. 10 Pepperdine (1-0) on Sept. 30, and tied No. 12 BYU (1-1) on the road on Oct. 28. In 2004, the Utes won at No. 7 UCLA (2-1) on Oct. 1. Utah was 2-1 against NSCAA/adidas Top 25 teams in both 2002 and '03.
Stingy Ute Defense
The Utes have shutout nine teams this season. Ashley Mason has seven complete-game shutouts and shared two others with Emalee Rogers. Utah has allowed just for goals in seven conference games, getting four shutouts.
Other than giving up four goals to Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 25, goalkeeper Ashley Mason had allowed just 10 goals in the other 18 games. Mason has made 80 saves with a 0.73 goals-against average in 19 games this season.
Utah's 13 wins this season equal the second-best mark in the 11-year history of the program. The Utes also got 13 wins in 2004 (13-6-3), 2002 (13-4-3), 2000 (13-7-1) and 1999 (13-7-0). Utah set the school single-season wins record with 16 victories in 2004.
Utah went undefeated in conference play for the second time this season, finishing 6-0-1 in the Mountain West. The Utes finished undefeated and untied in league play in 2003, going 6-0.
Utah has a 267-184 advantage in shots and an 119-96 edge in shots on goal over its opposition this season. The Utes also have a 1.53-0.71 advantage in goals scored per game.
Utah has faced four 2004 NCAA Tournament teams this season, going 1-3 in those games. Utah defeated UNLV (1-0) in Las Vegas, Nev., on Oct. 22. The Utes lost at Arizona (1-0 OT) on Sept. 16, to California at home (1-0 2OT) on Sept. 25 and at Pepperdine (1-0) on Sept. 30.
The Utes lost three in a row and five of six games to end their nonconference season. Utah was held scoreless in all of five of the losses. Three of those defeats came to teams ranked in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25.
Utah won its first six games of the season for the best start in school history.
Utah is 0-2-1 in overtime games this season.
The 2005 NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Monday, Nov. 7. First and second round games will be played the weekend of Nov. 10-13.