After back-to-back 0-0 overtime shutouts, the Utah State soccer team exploded for three goals as the Aggies opened the home portion of the Western Athletic Conference schedule, 3-0, against UTSA at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer on Friday.
The win was the Aggies first since a 1-0 win against Eastern Washington on Sept. 7. USU had been 0-1-5 in its last six matches prior to the win. The Aggies improve to 6-2-6 overall 1-0-2 in the WAC with their first conference win this season. The Roadrunners are now1-8-2 overall and 0-1-2 in league action.
With the win, the blue and white improve to 2-1 all-time against UTSA. The Aggies are 2-0 against the Roadrunners in Logan, also earning a win in 2008.
This was the Aggies third-straight shutout and sixth of the season. USU senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford earned her fifth shutout of the season, dropping her goals against average to 0.52 this season. Against UTSA, Mulford played all 90 minutes and made three saves.
"We came into this match really knowing that we really had to have three points. We had to go in with more attacking mentality than we've had. I thought we did a quite good job of that. We can't settle for ties anymore. We've got to earn points in order to qualify for the conference tournament. So, we really went in with more so of an attacking mindset than we have been. We felt like we have been playing too much possession and not finishing with aggressive attacking soccer. We felt like we made that change today," USU head coach Heather Cairns said.
Both teams worked to earn possession early in the match with UTSA out-shooting USU 6-4 in the first half.
The Aggies struck first in the 33rd minute when junior forward Mari Miyashiro scored the eventual game-winning goal. Miyashiro scored her third goal of the season from 20-yards off of passes from sophomore midfielders Kylie Dibb and Brooke Larsen. It was the first collegiate assist for both, giving the Aggies the 1-0 lead. It was only the fourth first-half goal of the season.
"I think we came out and played our hearts out again. We have been struggling lately with getting into the attack and scoring some goals, but I think we came out hard today. We worked all week in practice with attacking to the goal. We got a lot of shots in the box and that is what we're working for. We came out, and it was good, scored some goals, finally," Miyashiro said.
In the 78th minutes, junior Jennifer Flynn gave Utah State the 2-0 lead with her team-leading fourth goal of the season. Flynn took a Lauren Roundy pass and snuck the ball past UTSA goalkeeper Katarina Pus from four yards out. The assist was the first of her college career for Roundy.
With time running out in the match, redshirt sophomore Libby Lundquist was brought down in the box, earning the Aggies their second penalty kick of the season. Senior defender took the kick to increase the Utah State lead to 3-0. The goal was the third of the season for Norris.
The Aggies complete the brief two-match homestand on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. against Texas State.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.