Utah Valley University had to work on Labor Day, and work they did. The Wolverines faced off against the Titans of Cal State Fullerton University and hung on late to a 2-1 victory. This match was a full team effort for the Wolverines on the afternoon.
UVU last faced CSFU in the 2017 season, in Fullerton, California. As they lost that match by a score of 0-3, and started UVU down the path to a four-game losing streak. A different result would be on the horizon though in this matchup.
Junior forward Amber Tripp started off the scoring for UVU early in the game. As she took the Titans keeper one-on-one, striking the ball into the right side of the net in the eighth minute.
Tripp now has three goals on the season in the first four games. This after only having one in all of the 2018 season. She has been the Wolverines charge of offense early in the season.
“Amber’s a super dynamic, crafty player that is really difficult to deal with when she gets faced up and she can score goals,” said UVU head coach Chris Lemay. “So, the fact that she’s got three goals and one assist in four games is monstrous but it’s not outside of what we thought she was going to do.”
A mere nine minutes later UVU was back on the attack. Freshman forward Jocelyn Bybee struck the ball off the right post, which was tapped in by a Titans defender. A mental error of an own-goal by the CSFU defense put the Wolverines up 2-0 in the 17th minute.
Wolverines defender Hannah Bruce got too aggressive in the box, which in short called for a penalty kick for CSFU. UVU senior keeper Allie Jara got a hand on the ball, but it wasn’t enough as CSFU’s junior midfielder Atlanta Primus capitalized on the rebound.
UVU’s defense tightened up during the final stretch though, as the Titans tried continuously to tie the game. The defense from the Wolverines was stout, as they helped preserve the win late in the match.
“It’s something we struggled to do last year, so I’m really proud of the grit and effort that the players put forth to hold on to the win,” said Lemay. “We just had to roll up our sleeves and it isn’t something that we’ve traditionally, consistently done. This match was an awesome kind of hurdle for us to get over as group because we really gutted it out and competed.”
The Wolverines will now head out on the road for a two-game road trip in the state of California. They will face-off against 2018 NCAA tournament qualifier San Jose State University on Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. MST. From there they’ll head over to face Santa Clara University on Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. MST.
Photo courtesy of Rey Del Rio