Soccer: Utes face Texas Tech in first round of NCAA tournament

copy-of-_dsc4312 Kim Brenneisen

After being selected to play in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup on Tuesday, Nov. 8, the Utah soccer team will be competing against Texas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 12.

“There really are no words that can really describe this feeling, especially with having not made it the past couple of years,” said senior Katie Rogers. “It really just shows what this team is made of and what we are capable of. It is an awesome feeling.”13

After placing fourth in the Pac-12 this season with a total of 22 points, this will be the seventh time the Utes have made an appearance in the NCAA tournament, but they have only advanced to the second round twice.

If they advance to the next round, the Utes will play against either Florida State or Stanford. But in order for them to beat the Red Raiders, head coach Rich Manning said the team just needs to focus on itself.

Manning explained that since the team had more time than usual to prepare, he and the rest of the coaches are going to help the players become familiar with what the team will see on Saturday.

At the beginning of the season, the Utes competed against a variety of teams from all over the country, each presenting them with their own sort of flair. When the Utes started their Pac-12 season, they witnessed more varying styles, so Manning feels that the team won’t see something they haven’t seen before.

“We just have to zero in on what they are going to do and how we can best be successful against them,” Manning said. “This week is all about ramping up and studying the next couple of days. But like I said, we played such a good schedule that we have seen a lot of different things.”

For Rogers, playing against a team Utah has not played before makes it a little bit more fun. Rogers added that while the team will do some scouting on their opponent, they really don’t know much and it will force the team to focus on themselves.

If the Utes can focus on fixing the minor details in their performance and improve in all aspects of their game, Rogers feels her team will walk away with the win.

“This week really is just about focusing on us, and if we can master our own skills and our own abilities then we will be fine,” Rogers said.

Saturday’s game will be played on Ute Field, and kickoff is set to begin at 1:00 p.m.

“[Making the tournament] is one of our goals every year, and it allows us to keep playing and fight for the big prize,” Manning said. “I see it as another opportunity for us to do some special things.”