Unable to convert any shots through the Westminster defense in the first half, Utah Valley decided to go over the defense in the second. What was a frustrating 0-0 deadlock turned into a 3-0 rout.
Strong lead passes over the Westminster defense were tracked down by the fleeter Wolverines in an exhibition game that provided a glimpse of what the team will do when the games start counting.
Even if they can’t score right away, the lady Wolverines will eventually wear opponents down.
“I think we force-attacked in the first half; we tried to get it down the middle so much,” head coach Brent Anderson said. “They had compacted, and they were doing a good job. We didn’t open it up enough. In the second half, we opened it up and we were able to stretch it out and get a little more creative play.”
Highlighting the offensive creativity was a two-pass sequence starting with a long pass by midfielder Ashley Burdett to forward Regan Clifford on the right side.
Clifford then drew the defense in before sending the ball middle to forward Haley Curtis for an easy grounder in the net.
“Burdett had that vision to face up and get it to [Clifford],” Anderson said. “Clifford got the ball and had that composure in the box. That’s what we’ve been talking about with our forwards. ‘Just take a breath and play.’”
Clifford’s assist occurred less than 11 minutes after her own goal at the 46:34 mark.
Curtis, a freshman, would score again with six minutes remaining in regulation.
With both Curtis and the sophomore, Clifford, contributing so well off the bench, it leaves Anderson with some interesting decisions to make with his rotation.
“We put the best team on the field,” Anderson said. “If we have a freshman come in and they’re playing the best, then they’ll play. I like the energy our rookies brought into the game.”
Anderson pointed out that while the underclassmen were putting the ball in the back of the net, it was the veterans setting them up.
Burdett, a junior, and senior forward Katey Turner both turned in an assist apiece in the match.
“Haley was set up by a couple of underclassmen, so that’s the experience of the upperclassmen really paying off,” Anderson said.
The Wolverines showed their scoring potential, but Anderson would like to see more composure and consistency in possessing the ball.
Trying to get the team to keep control of the ball to create better offensive sequences, Anderson could be heard booming out, “Possession!”
“As soon as you start possessing the ball, you’re able to move up the field together and close up those gaps,” Anderson said. “That’s definitely something we’ve been working on the past week we’ve been going, and it’s something we’ll continue to work on.”