“We played a such a high intensity in the first half, that it was just difficult to sustain,” explained head coach Becky Hogan. “Consistency is something that we will work on.”
The Thunderbirds had some good looks at the net early on, but were unable to connect on any of their scoring opportunities. Stacey Brinkman and Madison Wood each got off shots for SUU while Morgan Bridge fired a ball that was saved in the lower corner by the Utah goalkeeper. Charly Booth made four saves in the opening period, including a few diving stops, to keep the match scoreless at the half.
The Utes peppered the goal with shots in the opening minutes of the second half but Booth kept a clean sheet making several big saves. Finally, on its eleventh shot on goal Utah was able to find the back of the net for the games opening score in the fifty-seventh minute. Sophomore defender Avery Ford won a ball outside the top of the box and fired a shot past the diving keeper to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Utah continued to pressure the goal and notched a second score five minute later. The Utes worked the ball into the box and fired off a few shots that bounced around until the ball rolled to Harley Spier who tapped the ball into the net to make the count 2-0.
The Utes were able to tack on a third score in the sixty-ninth minute as Baylee Nielsen fired a shot that hit the post and deflected off the keeper and into the goal. A fourth goal four minutes later would set the final count at 4-0.
Utah made a strong offensive showing, recording its highest goal total since a 2009 match against Utah Valley.
Senior goalkeeper Charly Booth made 12 saves in the match, but the Utes were able to fire off 31 shots, including 16 on goal, to come away with the win. The Thunderbirds took six shots in the match, but were unable to find the net for a second consecutive game.
“This loss doesn’t reflect how well Charly is playing,” commented Hogan. “She was phenomenal and kept us in this game.”
SUU will continue its opening road trip in a tournament hosted by UC Riverside next weekend. The T-Birds will first square off against UTEP on Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. and then meet up with New Mexico State on Sept. 2 at 10 a.m.