OREM, Utah – Utah Valley University scored three times in the first half and tacked on a pair more in the second as it defeated Delaware State 5-0 Monday night at Clyde Field. UVU clinched a perfect record in Great West Conference play heading into the conference tournament Friday.
"We weren't happy with the way we played Friday (a 1-0 loss to Montana) and we needed to come out and play a good match tonight," UVU head coach Brent Anderson said. "We were focused and we wanted to head into the tournament on a good note and I thought we played very well as a result."
The Wolverines (7-11-1, 5-0-0 GWC) had little trouble creating chances early on, firing eight shots over the first 14 minutes of play. After dominating possession for the first half hour but having nothing to show for it, UVU broke through in a big way after the 32nd minute.
Senior Regan Benson opened the scoring on a six-yard strike from the right side that was too hot for DSU (3-10-1, 2-3-0 GWC) goalkeeper Katelyn Koslosky to handle. In the right position, the keeper got in front of the initial shot but only to see the deflection bound into her own net.
Defender Megan Millerberg doubled the advantage just two minutes later, finishing from 15 yards on the left side. The true freshman took a pass from Natalie Baker before placing the ball neatly into the upper 90 at the far post.
The Wolverines were not done there. Baker picked up her second assist of the half when she played midfielder Kim Stratford into the box. With plenty of time and space, Stratford calmly slid the ball with the inside of her right foot into the lower right corner, giving UVU its third goal in three minutes.
At the intermission, the Wolverines owned a 24-5 shot advantage, forcing 13 first-half saves from Koslosky.
UVU kept its three-goal advantage for the first 30 minutes of the second half before Baker got in on the scoring act herself. Standing on the receiving end of a Benson cross, Baker finished with a leaping header to push the advantage to 4-0. Benson's searching cross came from the right side after she was freed into space by a long pass from Stratford.
With a goal and assist to her name now, Benson added the finishing touches in the 81st minute. Working at the corner of the 18-yard box, the senior lifted a left-footed, bending ball that dove, somehow untouched, through a mass of players crowded in front of goal. Unable to properly sight the ball, Koslosky reacted late and could only watch the ball trickle into the lower left corner.
The Wolverines finished the match with 35 total shots, 19 on frame. Benson notched six of those shots, Baker with five, while senior Shalayne Janis fired four.
With two goals and two assists, Benson finished the match with a career-best six points. Baker's tally with two assists gave her four points and Stratford grabbed three with her goal and assist performance.
A perfect GWC record and another GWC regular season title secured, UVU now shifts its attention the conference tournament, which opens play Friday, Nov. 2. The Wolverines will be the top seed and the host school, as all tournament games will be held at Clyde Field. In its final year of GWC competition, UVU will look to be the first school in league history to win back-to-back tournament titles.
As the top seed, the Wolverines have a bye into the semifinals. They will face the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game Saturday at 7 p.m.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.