Despite commanding play for long stretches of both halves, the Weber State University Women’s Soccer Team suffered a 1-0 loss to in-state rival the University of Utah on Friday night at Ute Field.
Head Coach Tim Crompton said that overall, he is pleased with the team’s defensive play, but said they have to start scoring goals.
“Our defense continues to play great; they’re playing very hard,” Crompton said. “We just need to find a way to be able to convert our chances in front of the goal.”
The Wildcats, who dropped their fifth 1-0 decision of the season, fell to 1-6-0, while the U of U improved to 3-4-1 with its third win in four matches.
WSU defender Ari Wood said that losing close matches was a problem the team faced last season, and that they need to work on finishing the job in those close matches.
“I think that one of the biggest things is going to be the mental side,” Wood said. “When a game is winding down, we need to be able to stay strong, get focused and do whatever needs to be done to win the game.”
U of U opened up the scoring in the 50th minute, with Ute freshman Avery Ford hitting a short-ranged shot after a turnover for the 1-0 advantage.
WSU had a pair of good scoring opportunities in the final 20 minutes of the match. Sophomore forward Felicia Sortor twice broke through the Utes’ defense in one-on-one opportunities, but couldn’t convert on either opportunity. One shot deflected off the crossbar.
Senior forward Jessie Baddley also forced a free kick just off the 18 that saw Ute goalkeeper Hannah Turpen make a strong save on to force a corner. That corner set off a massive scramble in front of the goal that saw the ball repeatedly kicked until it was cleared by the Utes. Despite multiple chances in front of the goal, WSU was unable to convert.
The Wildcats and Utes fought hard during a back-and-forth first half that saw each take control for 15-minute stretches of play, but neither team was able to score in the first half of play.
The Utes finished the opening half with a slight 6-5 advantage in shots, including three from forward Erin Dalley.
Each team had a quality opportunity to score, with Sortor ringing one off the crossbar in the 38th minute. The Wildcats also had a strong sequence that saw Baddley place a terrific pass across the goal that was missed by inches as senior Collette Simmons attempted to head it in far post.
This was WSU’s last game of a long road trip and the last game before they open conference play. Wood said that she enjoys playing a tough schedule that prepares the team for their conference play.
“Since I’ve played at Weber, we’ve always had a tough non-conference schedule,” Wood said. “I prefer a tough non-conference because I think it best prepares us for our conference play.”
Wood said that the team needs to adopt a winning attitude for the remainder of their matches this season.
“I believe a winning attitude is something that would take our team far and would be the biggest thing we need to improve upon from last season,” Wood said.