It was all trick and no treat as the Utes dropped Friday afternoon’s match to the No. 23 Arizona Wildcats 2-1. The loss is the third in a row for the reeling Utes who drop to 8-6-4 overall and 1-6-2 in Pac-12 play. The Utes were off to the best start in program history this year, but have lost 6 of their last 8 since beginning conference play, winning only once against the lowly Beavers of Oregon State. This loss is yet another blow to the Utes dwindling postseason hopes.
" I'm proud of the way we fought and the team put forth a great effort." Utah head coach Rich Manning said. "I'm disappointed with the result."
Wildcat midfielder Gabi Stoian was difference in this one, with three shots on goal, converting two of them for scores. Stoian’s first goal came on a cross from teammate Jaden Degracie in front of the net. Stoian was able to bury the cross from 5 yards out to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. The Utes were determined to fight back however, trying to keep their flickering postseason hopes alive.
In the 65th minute, Avery Jenkins scored the equalizer for the Utes with a lazer from 35 yards out that glanced off the crossbar and into the back of the net. It was Jenkins third goal of the season. It looked like the Utes might hang on for the draw until thirteen minutes later when Stoian’s scored the dagger snatching the victory from the Utes. Jenkins was able to get two more shots off in the 82nd and 87th minute, but Wildcats keeper Gabby Kaufmann was able to get in front of both, preserving the win for Arizona.
"It came down to making plays in the penalty areas. We had to do a better job defending them in the box and we have to have more composure at the other end in front of the goal." Coach Manning said.
The Utes still have a chance to send the Seniors out on a high note Sunday afternoon against Arizona State. The Utes will need to win their next two and hope for a bit of luck from the selection committee to make it into the 2014 College Cup. You can catch the action live on Pac-12 networks Sunday at 2pm MT.