OREM — The Utah Valley University soccer team continues non-conference play this week when it hosts Idaho State at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Clyde Field. From there, the Wolverines kick off their upcoming six-game road trip Sunday with a match at Wyoming. That match will begin at noon. UVU went 1-1-0 against the two schools last season.
Last week, the Wolverines (1-4-1) were on the road but stayed local as they traveled to Weber State and Southern Utah. UVU was shutout for the first time in 2012 in Ogden on Wednesday, dropping a 1-0 decision. The loss was the fourth by a one-goal margin for UVU this season.
The offense reemerged on Saturday at SUU as the Wolverines battled back from a 2-0 deficit midway through the first half to earn a 2-2 draw. The Thunderbirds scored twice in a 17-second span in the 24th minute to gain the advantage, but an SUU own goal before halftime kept UVU alive. From the time of the last SUU goal, the Wolverines went on to outshoot the Thunderbirds 20-4 in regulation. The offensive persistence paid off when Haley Curtis scored the equalizer in the 69th minute, earning her second goal of the year.
Three Wolverines have tallied two goals this season: junior Natalie Baker, sophomore Lexi Robison and junior Curtis. Senior forward Regan Benson is the other goal-scorer for UVU with one. Junior goalkeeper and reigning Great West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Sack played her first full game of 2012 on Saturday, recording four saves.
Idaho State (4-3) began the season with four consecutive wins but has dropped its last three. Last weekend the Bengals were in California, falling 5-1 to CSU Bakersfield and 2-0 to Loyola Marymount. Freshman defender Vanessa Cabilan scored her first career goal against CSUB.
ISU has wins over North Dakota State, New Mexico State and Idaho this year.
Senior forward Rachel Strawn has been a terror up front for the Bengals this season, tallying six goals to lead the Big Sky Conference. Three of her goals have been game-winning and she was named Big Sky Player of the Week for matches played Aug. 17-20 after scoring three times in two games.
Anna Pingree, a senior midfielder, is second on the team with three goals, all of which were scored in two matches at the Governor's Cup Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
Goalkeepers Maria Dela Cruz and Sheridan Haspic have virtually split the goalkeeping duties this season for ISU, combining for 18 saves.
UVU is 2-4-2 all-time against the Bengals and has won the last two meetings. Last year, the Wolverines pulled out a 5-1 victory in Pocatello on Sept. 22.
Wyoming (6-2-0) had one of its best seasons in program history in 2011, getting a program-best 12 wins and advancing all the way to the championship match of the Mountain West Conference tournament.
UW picked up where it left off, winning six-consecutive matches after dropping the season over. The Cowgirls split their matches last week, winning 2-0 at Northern Colorado on Thursday but falling 3-2 at the hands of Washington State on Sunday to snap the six-game win streak.
With 22 goals through its first eight games, UW is tops in the MW and 19th in the NCAA in scoring offense. Junior forward Olivia Mohtadi leads the Cowgirls' attack with four goals, followed by sophomore defender Lucie McDowell's three. Four more players have two goals apiece for UW, while seven have tallied once.
Pacing the Cowgirl offense is sophomore forward Sara Paul. With six assists on the young season, Paul is in a tie for third nationally in total assists and ranks in a tie for 11th in assists per game.
Sophomore goalkeeper Carmen McDermott is 4-1-0 this year with 17 saves and is allowing 1.42 goals per game.
UVU has never beaten Wyoming, trailing in the all-time series 0-4-0. Last year the two schools met in Orem with the Cowgirls stealing a 2-0 victory.
UVU returns to Clyde Field on Oct. 5 for the GWC opener against NJIT.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.