Goals from Katie Rigby and Katie Taylor secured a 2-0 win for Utah soccer in its opener Friday at Oral Roberts. Taylor also notched an assist to Rigby on the first goal, and the victory marks the second-straight season the Utes opened with a win, doing it against a team that won a school-record 15 contests last season.
"We played very well except the last 10 minutes of each half," head coach Rich Manning said. "The things we've worked with in possession seemed to be working for us this evening."
Lindsey Luke made two saves to notch the 14th shutout of her career. The junior goalkeeper set the Utah single-season mark last year with nine blankings.
"Keeping a shutout and getting a win on the road is really an exciting way to start the season," defender Megan Trabert said. "We just tried to win the ball back quickly and stay connected in the back. I think the communication between Nykell and I helped make that adjustment work."
Rigby, a member of the Pac-12 all-freshman team last year, opened the scoring after collecting a loose ball in front of goal. It was the second goal of her career as the midfielder scored the game-winner against Oregon in 2013. Ashton Hall served in the initial cross that was poked by Taylor to Ribgy at the far post.
"Scoring so early really helped with my confidence and i knew the team was going to score at least one more goal," Rigby stated. "Coming off the injury was difficult last season because I just wanted to get comfortable dribbling and getting forward. This year i definitely want to try and score more goals."
Taylor scored the 11th goal of her career in the second half. She received a pass back off her initial corner entry to Mikayla Elmer. The senior forward's cross went untouched into the Eagle net during the 62nd minute, doubling the Utes' lead. Taylor is starting out where she left off, as she led the team in goals and points a season ago.
Utah dominated play and racked up 23 shots, six on goal. Baylee Nielsen led the way with seven tries while Rigby,Kaycee Buckley, Avery Jenkins, Audrey Gibb, and Mariah Elmer each had multiple efforts.
"Megan and Nykell were really solid in the middle of our defense," Manning added. "Katie scored that important first goal and Baylee had a bunch of opportunities. She was just very unlucky, especially hitting the post."
The Utes also held a 4-1 advantage on corner-kicks. Utah has a short turnaround, as they're back in action on Sunday at Oklahoma. Kick-off is scheduled for noon MT.