Despite being one of the nation's leaders in assists all season, Utah midfielder Kelly Isleib hadn't been able to score a goal.

She'd had 35 shots on the year, including 11 on goal, but had been unable to find the net once.

However, Isleib couldn't have picked a better time to pick up her first goal of the season Sunday afternoon.

After taking a pass from Adele Letro in the 88th minute, Isleib dribbled past one defender at the top of the goal box and fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the net.

The shot, with just 1:51 left in the game, gave the Utes an important 2-1 victory over San Diego State at Ute Field.

"Finally," said Isleib. "I've kept pushing at it and I figured it would come and it came at a great time. I dribbled past one player, saw an opening and hit it. It was a pretty goal."

Ute coach Rich Manning said Isleib has put some pressure on herself to score goals this year after being hobbled by a knee injury last year and this year has tried to be content to pass the ball and let others score.

"For Kelly to score is huge, because she has the capability of being a big-time goal scorer," Manning said. "It was a great time for her to score."

It was also a great time for a Ute victory after not scoring for two games in a tie with New Mexico last week and a 3-0 loss at TCU Friday night.

Going into Sunday's home finale, the Utes found themselves in an uncharacteristic fifth place standing in the Mountain West Conference. With a loss they could have been in danger of not making next week's MWC Tournament in Provo, where only the top six teams qualify.

However, the three points for the victory vaulted the Utes to third place with 11 points behind league-leaders UNLV and BYU.

"It felt really good to get a win after the last couple of games where I felt we played really well and didn't get a result," said Manning. "At the end of the day I felt those were points we earned."

The Utes felt they dominated the first half with nine shots to two for the Aztecs, but couldn't find the net.

Then in the 69th minute, Isleib saw Letro streaking toward the goal, hit her with a nice pass and Letro stuck the ball in the upper right corner with her 17th goal of the year to give the Utes the lead.

"Adele's shot was probably one of the best goals I've ever seen," said Isleib.

In the 80th minute, the Aztecs tied the score on an own goal as a loose ball near the net bounced off a Ute defender into the net.

However, Isleib's goal eight minutes later saved the day for the Utes.

With the MWC Tournament coming up in Provo next week, the Utes are hoping to jump into the No. 2 spot and get a first-round bye.

They must beat Wyoming, which defeated UNLV Sunday, in Laramie on Saturday and get some help from UNLV.

"Our hope is if we win next week and BYU loses or ties at UNLV, we can slip into that second spot and get a bye," said Manning.

"That's a reachable goal."

MWC soccer standings

School ... W-L-T ... Pts

UNLV ... 4-1-1 ... 13

BYU ... 4-2-0 ... 12

Utah ... 3-1-2 ... 11

SDSU ... 3-2-1 ... 10

TCU ... 3-3-0 ... 9

Wyoming ... 3-3-0 ... 9

New Mexico ... 1-3-2 ... 5

Air Force ... 0-6-0 ... 0


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