The Utah women's soccer season ended on Friday as the Utes dropped their final game of the year 2-0 at Colorado. The Utes finish the year with an 8-8-4 record but just a 1-8-2 record in conference play. This marked the final game for Utah seniors Katie Taylor, Avery Jenkins, Darby Broeker, Sarah Duncan, Ashton Hall, Monica Larsen, Cheyanne Mulcock, Molly Poletto, Jill Robison, and McKel Wal.
"This team fought to the end and always gave it their best shot." Utah head coach Rich Manning said after the game.
The Utes started the game strong, controlling play for the first 20 minutes. It appeared the team would prove a tough out for the Buffs and seemed determined to send the seniors out in winning fashion. The Utes kept Colorado goalkeeper Kate Scheele on her toes sending four shots on goal her way. Katie Taylor, Avery Jenkins and Sarah Duncan, all seniors, sent shots toward the Colorado goal that Scheele was ultimately able to save. Junior Nykell Seymour was also able to get a shot off to no avail.
After the first 20 minute onslaught by the Utes, the Buffs gained control of the game. Colorado sophomore Brie Hooks drew first blood in the 27th minute on an assist from Madison Krauser. It was Hooks eight goal of the season and gave Colorado a lead they would not relinquish. In the 37th minute, Colorado senior Darcy Jerman scored the second goal on an assist from Emily Paxton. The Utes Janie Kearl had an opportunity before half to draw the Utes back within one, but wasn't able to convert.
The Buffs controlled much of the second half action as well, but just as the first twenty minutes of the game were dominated by the Utes, so were the last twenty minutes. With the minutes dwindling in the second half and nothing to lose, the Utes, as they have done all year, fought back with all they had. The Utes managed four corner kicks in the lfinal 18 minutes, with Natalie Vukic, Katie Rigby and Avery Jenkins all firing shots at the Colorado goal. The Utes were able to catch Scheele out of positions a couple times in the final minutes only to have the Colorado defenders step in to deflect shots from Rigby and Jenkins. As has been the story the second half of the season, the Utes had their chances but failed to get the ball in the back of the net.
It was a tale of two seasons for the Utes. The first half, the best start ever for the Utes. The second half, one of the worst finishes ever. The Utes finish Pac-12 play with only a single win. The effort was there all season for the Utes and the women probably could have pulled out a few more wins with some better luck. Unfortunately that's the way it goes in soccer sometimes and rash of bad luck can ruin a season. The Utes lose some key players for next year with Katie Taylor and Avery Jenkins graduating. The team still returns a good amount of talent however. The Utes need to work on keeping composure in front of the opponents goal and work on finishing on their shots on goal for next season. The chances were there all season, if the Utes can find the back of the net a few more times, this could be a quality Pac-12 team next year.
"The team was thrown a lot of challenges this season and I'm proud of the fact that they never wavered," Manning said. "This team fought to the end and always gave it their best shot. We're sad to see the seniors leave, but they made a huge impact on this team and its transition to the Pac-12."