Soccer: Utah wins in first round of NCAA tournament

Utah Soccer vs. Texas Tech Kim Brenneisen

Utah soccer competed in the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup tournament on Saturday, Nov. 12 on Ute Field. After a long battle on the field against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Utes managed to take home a 1-0 victory in overtime, advancing them onto the next round of the NCAA tournament.

Up next, the Utes will be competing in the second round of the tournament against Florida State.

Standout player:

As Utah and Texas Tech battled it out during overtime, it was senior Katie Rogers who secured the win for her team. Assisted by freshman Natalee Wells, Rogers was able to sink the ball in the back of the net, scoring the winning goal, and she brought the game to an end in the 97th minute.

Head coach Rich Manning said that he didn’t see the goal go in, but he heard the cheering. Manning added that Rogers has been dangerous on the field all year, and he knows that if she is in the area, Rogers has a good chance of scoring.

“It just happened so fast that I didn’t really know what happened,” Rogers said. “It just felt really good to win the game. We just kept pushing and fighting, and we finally got on [the board].”

In game adjustments:

As far as improvement goes, Manning said that just the experience of getting through a tournament game and winning that tournament game is huge for his team. Manning feels that his team improved more during the game by adjusting to their opponent as the game progressed.  

“One thing we have been really good at this year is we kind of adjust to our opponent as the game progresses,” Manning said. “I have great confidence we will do that again next week.”

Manning isn’t focused on what his team needs to improve on for the next game, but is excited to play a team like Florida State, because it will allow his program to grow. Being through the gauntlet in both non-conference and Pac-12 games, the Utah team fears no one.

Coach’s corner:

“I think the occasion sometimes makes you a little conservative and nervous, so I felt in the first half we were playing it safe. The way Texas Tech was playing, it put us in an in-between zone where they were sitting back, so we couldn’t be super aggressive. As the game went on we found a couple of things that were working. A lot of our chances came from winning the ball higher up on the field. I was pleased that we worked our way into the game. Anytime you win a tournament game, that is special and we get to move on,” — Manning.