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Soccer drops one, draws in pair of weekend home matches

Assistant Sports Editor

Published: Monday, October 28, 2013

Updated: Monday, October 28, 2013 22:10

Jennifer Flynn

Delayne Ripplinger

Senior Jennifer Flynn dribbles up the pitch during USU's loss to San Diego State on Sunday.

The Utah State women’s soccer team hosted a pair of matches over the weekend. The Aggies fought to a draw with New Mexico and fell to San Diego State.

San Diego State 2, Utah State 0

Utah State took on Mountain West Conference leader San Diego State on Sunday. The Aggies suffered their first loss in over two weeks, falling 2-0 to the Aztecs at Chuck and Gloria Bell Field.

San Diego State’s Haley Palmer scored two goals in the game, the first of which came in the 18th minute from 22 yards out. Palmer’s shot found it’s way past a diving Natalie Stoven in the top left corner. With the goal, the Aggies were playing from behind for the first time in more than 560 minutes.

“It’s hard playing down 1-0, but I think the girls fought,” said USU head coach Heather Cairns. “We were a little disjointed. The number of players we have injured changes the way we sub. At the same time, we had some good players step up into some roles.”

USU forced two consecutive corner kicks in the 22nd minute. The second corner found senior Mari Miyashiro, who was pulled down in the box before she could get a shot off. The incident resulted in a penalty kick taken by Rose. Her shot missed wide right and proved to be the Aggies’ best chance in the first half for a goal.

Palmer got her second goal in the 54th minute off a set piece from 19 yards away from the goal, hooking it around Aggie defenders and into the net.

Stoven had a stellar game, recording a career-high 12 saves in the game. However, the two goals were the first two shots that found their way past Stoven in her collegiate career.

“I’ve gained confidence, but it’s all because of my defense,” said Stoven on her shutdown start to her collegiate career. “They have been solid, so I haven’t had to do a ton of stuff. They have been really solid the last couple of games and made it easy for me.”

USU did have other opportunities. Jessica Brooksby found her way through multiple defenders to rip a shot on goal in the 47th minute. It was the Aggies’ only shot on goal. Both Brooksby and Amber McCalson had breakaways in the second half where they slipped past defenders to have a chance at scoring, but neither got a shot off.

“San Diego State was the better team today,” Coach Cairns said. “But I like our chances of them again when we get them in the tournament, if that happens.”

Utah State 0, New Mexico 0

USU’s women’s soccer team battled New Mexico to a tie Friday in Logan. New Mexico was tied for first in the Mountain West standings with one week left in the regular season going into the match.

The Aggies played a sloppy first half with limited opportunities. However, they came back with an added intensity in the second half.

“Let’s face it; the first 45 wasn’t our best half of soccer,” Cairns said. “To be able to turn that around and get some confidence and start putting them under some pressure was important.”

Junior Kylie Dibb put up the Aggies’ first shot on frame in the 47th minute. USU pressured the Lobo defense from then on. The Aggies had eight shots in the second half, five of which were on target.

McCalson fired a set piece from just outside the box in the 76th minute that ricocheted off the goalkeeper’s hands and hit the cross bar. Senior Shay Haddow also saw her shot hit the crossbar in the 81st minute.

“At halftime, I just told everybody that we need to fight,” Haddow said. “That’s what we did in the second half. We just fought. Every single person fought, and we stayed in the game. It was just a good, hard-fought match.”

Brooksby had a great opportunity off a set piece from 24 yards out from the goal, but the ball was bobbled and eventually smothered by the goalkeeper. The Aggies managed to collect three corner kicks in the second overtime, the last of which found senior Taryn Rose, who put a shot on target as the game was ending.

The shutout was the fourth straight for the Aggies and the ninth on the season. It was the fourth for redshirt freshman goalkeeper Natalie Stoven, who collected four saves in the game.

“It’s a whole team effort,” said Rose. “The defense has figured it out, but we wouldn’t be able to do anything without the whole team. It starts with the pressure from our forwards to the saves of our goalkeeper.”

The weekend took the Aggies’ record to 9-6-3 overall and 5-3-1 in conference play. The Aggies take on Boise State at 3 p.m. in Logan on Friday in their last game of the regular season before the MWC Tournament starts.

Twitter: @dahdahusu

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