SALT LAKE CITY — Except for one egregious defensive mistake late in the first half, the Utah women’s soccer team played No. 2-ranked Stanford to a near-standstill Friday afternoon at Ute Field.
However, the defending NCAA champion Cardinal took a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Utes to improve to 10-1-1 on the season, while the Utes suffered their first home loss of the year and dropped to 7-3-2 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play.
Ute coach Rich Manning blamed himself for the game’s lone goal in the 35th minute when Nina Watkins took a long pass from Rachel Quon over the Ute defenders and easily stuck a left-footed shot past Ute goalkeeper Lindsay Luke.
The Utes were trying a trap to draw the Stanford forwards offside. However, Watkins was not offside, and once she received the pass past the Ute defense, she had little trouble scoring.
“I have to take responsibility for the goal,’’ Manning said. “We were pulling an offside trap and they were ready for it That was not the right time and place for it and that’s on me.’’
Otherwise Manning was happy with the way his team stayed with Stanford all afternoon.
“The kids had a great mindset, played with confidence and for 90 minutes we defended very well,’’ Manning said. “Other than the result and the horrible coaching decision, we did a fantastic job.’’
Both teams had a hard time getting scoring chances as the Cardinal had just three shots on goal compared to one for the Utes.
“Utah is a very well-coached team and they made it difficult for us,’’ said Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe. “One goal was the difference and we’re happy to get a victory here.’’
The Utes will try to get back on the winning track with another home game against Cal Sunday at 1 p.m.