Even though the Utah women's soccer team has usually beaten Utah State over the years, both in official matches in the fall and unofficial ones in the spring, Ute coach Rich Manning has always felt the Aggies played with more passion than his team.
In Friday night's game at Ute Field, the Utes took a 2-0 victory and finally played with enough passion to make their coach happy.
"I guess I can die a happy man now," Manning said. "I've never walked off the field and felt like we've played harder than them, but I did tonight. Every year I make the same speech that I want them to play harder and tonight we did."
For Utah (2-5), the victory snapped a four-game losing streak, the longest in program history, with three of the losses coming by a single goal.
Utah scored on a terrific individual effort by Kelly Isleib for the first goal midway through the second half and sophomore defender Morgan Skeen added the clincher with 15 minutes left.
"It feels great it was well overdue," said Isleib. "Utah State always brings that competitiveness, and we matched their passion on the field tonight."
Isleib made a nice run toward the goal after Katy Reineke cleared some space for her on the left side. She juked out Sydne Porter, a former club teammate of hers, and let fly with a left-footed shot that just cleared the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Ali Griffin.
Then 10 minutes later, Skeen scored from the right side from 10 yards out with another unassisted goal, her first as a Ute.
Ute goalkeeper Emalee Rogers got the shutout with five saves. Griffin had five saves for USU, which drops to 2-4-1.The Utes play at Loyola Marymount on Sunday afternoon, while the Aggies play host to UTEP on Sunday.