The Utah Valley women’s soccer team opened its 2021 regular season with a dominating 2-0 victory over the Arizona Wildcats on Friday, Aug. 20 at Clyde Field.
Friday’s game was the first played at Clyde Field at full capacity since the 2019 season, and The Den was out in full force cheering the Wolverines on to victory.
Freshman and sophomore midfielders Nicole Ray and Heather Stainbrook got on the scoresheet with one goal apiece, while redshirt senior Amber Tripp and redshirt junior Sadie Brockbank each added an assist. The Wolverines’ defense was lights-out, preventing the Wildcats from registering a shot on goal.
UVU dominated possession from the start, and nearly opened the scoring in the third minute, but Ray’s shot curled just over the crossbar.
Arizona looked like they had a chance in the 15th minute on a counterattack, but the play was blown dead due to a Wildcat forward being offside.
After pinning Arizona in their own half for much of the early going, the Wolverines broke through in the 19th minute when Ray curled her shot past the keeper into the bottom right corner. Tripp and Brockbank were able to work Ray open with a couple of quick passes that caught the Wildcat defense off guard.
UVU had a trio of quality scoring chances in the next 12 minutes of play, with shots by Tripp and sophomore forward Manthy Brady going inches over the crossbar, and a shot by Brockbank being stopped by Arizona keeper Hope Hisey.
The Wolverines nearly scored just before halftime when a deep free kick by Stainbrook almost found its way past Hisey before she tipped it over the crossbar.
UVU kept up the pressure after the intermission, nearly scoring another in the 50th minute, but a low ball through the six-yard box couldn’t find any friendly feet.
The Wolverines finally found their second goal of the night in the 67th minute thanks to a set piece goal from Stainbrook. Junior forward Julie Carter was fouled just outside the penalty area straight in front of the goal, leading to a tough angle on the ensuing free kick. Senior midfielder Breanna Dewaal and Stainbrook both stepped up to take the free kick, but Dewaal dummied over the ball, giving Stainbrook the space she needed in the Wildcat defense to fire her shot into the bottom left corner.
Carter and Brockbank nearly added to the scoring in the 79th and 83rd minutes respectively, but both shots were saved by Hisey.
Arizona looked like they got one back in the 89th minute, but freshman midfielder Gianna Christiansen’s goal was ruled offside.
Following the victory over the Wildcats, the Wolverines will stay home for another match against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Monday, Aug. 23. The match is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. MT, and can be streamed on ESPN+.