UVU soccer: Utah Valley battles Idaho and Seattle U this week for WAC's top spot
OREM — Utah Valley University will put its unblemished league record on the line when the top three in the WAC standings face off in Orem this weekend. UVU faces second-place Idaho at 7 p.m. on Friday, then meets fellow conference unbeaten and preseason favorite Seattle University at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Both matches will be played at Clyde Field.
Live stats and live video are available for both matches, free of charge.
The Wolverines (5-5-0, 3-0-0 WAC) pulled back to .500 on the season in a 5-3 victory over Grand Canyon last Sunday. In its only match of the week, Utah Valley scored three times in the final 45 minutes to break a 2-2 deadlock at intermission and claim its fourth consecutive victory. Five goals marks the largest output by the Wolverines this season, and eight goals scored is the highest match total seen by a UVU squad since Nov. 5, 2010, when it defeated Delaware State, 8-0.
In a streak that dates back to October 2011, the Wolverines have now won 10 consecutive conference matches.
Natalie Baker paced the offensive outburst, scoring twice in the match to push her season total to four goals. Lexi Robison added her second goal of the season, while Kristen Bailey-Yoo scored for the first time in her Wolverine career just before halftime. Haley Curtis, who also has four goals on the season, added two assists in the victory.
The senior duo of Baker and Curtis continues to lead Utah Valley in scoring, but they are joined at the top by another forward — Kali Stubbs. The sophomore also has four goals to her name and enters the weekend having tallied in three consecutive matches. Robison and Taylor Kirk have each scored a double, and three more Wolverines sit with a single score on the season. In all, UVU's 19 goals on the year are good enough for second in the WAC, just behind top-scorer Seattle and its 21 goals.
Idaho (2-8-0, 2-1-0 WAC) came up empty handed in its non-conference schedule but has since won two of three conference matches to grab a second-place spot in the early league standings.
The Vandals opened their WAC campaign with back-to-back home wins over GCU and New Mexico State, but they suffered a setback in a 2-1 overtime loss to Kansas City on Sunday. Battling through cold and rainy conditions, Idaho and UMKC ended in a 1-1 tie in regulation before the visitors found the golden goal in the closing moments of the first overtime period.
Sunday's match capped a five-game home stand for the Vandals who will now spend their next three contests on the road. Following a Friday date with Utah Valley, Idaho heads to Bakersfield on Sunday, then rematches with Grand Canyon in Phoenix a week later.
A preseason All-WAC selection, junior midfielder Katie Baran is one of three Vandals with two goals scored on the season. She also leads the team with six total points having added two assists on the year. True freshman Alyssa Pease and redshirt freshman Elexis Schlossarek, both midfielders, round out Idaho's goal-scoring leaders.
Senior defender Nitalia Zuniga, another member of the preseason All-WAC team, leads Idaho with three assists. She picked up all three in one match, assisting on each goal in the Vandal's 3-2 win over NM State.
The all-time series between Utah Valley and Idaho is tied at 3-3 with the most recent matchup going the way of the Vandals — a 1-0 decision in Moscow last season. The last time the two sides met in Orem was Oct. 3, 2008. Overtime was needed that day as the Wolverines prevailed, 2-1. UVU and Idaho were picked to finish in a tie for second in the WAC's Preseason Coaches' Poll in August.
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