The Weber State University soccer team fought a hard home-game battle against the University of Utah’s soccer team on Saturday afternoon, finishing the game with a 1-0 loss.
The game proved to be a hard defensive clash on both sides. While both teams had a relatively even amount of ball possession, WSU was unable to capitalize on an offensive opportunity.
“We had the ball a lot in the first half,” said WSU Head Coach Tim Crompton. “At the end of the day, when we kept counting on that place where we needed that extra little bite . . . we were making poor decisions. That last pass, that last shot, that last cross — we didn’t execute it.”
WSU concluded the first half with only one shot taken and zero shots on goal. The Utes ended with six shots taken and two shots on goal. The only goal of the game was a goal-line deflection credited to Allie Wisner of the U of U at the 24:31 time marker.
The Wildcats finished the first half with a 1-0 deficit to the U of U. The statistics showed their difficulty in finishing on the final third of the field as they ended the half with only one shot attempted and no shots on goal, as opposed to the U of U’s six shot attempts and two attempts on goal.
Coming into the second period, the Wildcats tried to make the most of the opportunities coming their way. They started quickly, with two shots on goal and a higher offensive aggression.
“In the second half, we wanted to kind of pick up where we left off,” said WSU freshman forward Mackenzie Harrison. “I thought we were playing pretty well in the first half. We wanted to obviously finish the goal opportunities that we had.”
The ball possession and control in the second half was more evenly matched, as both teams had a handful of offensive opportunities on their ends of the field. The Wildcats had many opportunities at the final third of the field to make a play, including a few close free kicks as well as corner kicks, but, to the credit of the Ute defenders and goalkeeper, they were unable to take advantage of these moments.
“From the back to the middle and through the middle third we looked — I thought — extremely good,” Crompton said. “We pretty much did what we wanted. So, when we came into the second half, we thought we could just spring more of that. And I thought we played a decent second half, for sure. But we just gave up kind of a soft goal and got beaten, and they are going to have to learn to deal with that.”
At the end of the match, the Utes (3-1-1) finished with 10 shot attempts, five shots on goal, five corner kicks, 12 fouls committed and four saves. The Wildcats had 12 shot attempts (11 in the second half), four shots on goal, two corner kicks, three fouls committed and four saves.
As to what they will work on for their next game, Harrison said, with a bit of an uncomfortable laugh, “Finishing. . . . We haven’t scored at all yet.”
Despite the close loss, the ‘Cats were able to recognize some strong points to move forward.
“We’re a good passing team,” Harrison said. “We are a really good passing team. I thought we kept it at our feet well. We were working this week on getting open for each other, and I thought we did better today than last game, and I thought we won more balls out of the air this game than last game.”
WSU (0-4-0) will move on to play another home game against in-state opponent Utah Valley University on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 3 p.m. on the Wildcat soccer field.