The Utah Valley women’s soccer team suffered its first loss of the season as it fell to the No. 25 USC Trojans 4-2 on Aug. 28 at Clyde Field.
The Wolverines came into the match aiming to claim its best start to a season in program history, however, they fell behind early and couldn’t recover.
Redshirt senior midfielder Amber Tripp almost got UVU on the board in the third minute, but Trojan goalkeeper Anna Smith was able to slide in and deflect the shot out of harm’s way. Redshirt junior forward Sadie Brockbank had another quality chance, but her shot was also saved by Smith.
Despite controlling possession for much of the opening half, a counterattack goal and a defensive lapse gave the visitors an early 2-0 lead. USC scored its first goal in the 11th minute after a long outlet pass by midfielder Croix Bethune set up midfielder Savannah DeMelo, who fired her shot into the bottom-right corner.
In the 22nd minute, an errant Wolverine pass just outside the penalty area set up striker Simone Jackson for a one-timer that she fired into the left side of the net.
The Wolverines had a chance for a comeback thanks to a USC own goal in the 28th minute. On a UVU corner, the ball deflected off a Trojan defender’s arm and snuck across the goal line. After a moment of confusion from both sides, the referee ruled the play a goal for the Wolverines.
USC nearly doubled its lead right before halftime, but redshirt senior goalkeeper Brooklyn Nielsen was able to save the dangerous shot as time expired.
After struggling to create any quality scoring chances outside of the first ten minutes of play, the Wolverines opened the second half with a flurry of shots on goal that were all saved by Smith. Sophomore midfielder Heather Stainbrook had the best chance in the 48th minute, but her shot from just outside the penalty area was saved by Smith off the crossbar and cleared away. Brockbank had a pair of chances in the 50th and 51st minutes, but her shots were both saved by Smith as well.
The Wolverines kept pressure on the Trojans for the next 20 minutes, but USC was finally able to break out of its own half and add a pair of goals to its tally. In the 74th minute, midfielder Aaliyah Farmer was able to lock onto a cross from forward Katie Roditis and head it past Nielsen to extend the lead. The Trojans were able to put the game on ice in the 86th minute when Bethune scored to put the game completely out of reach.
Despite being down three with less than five minutes to go, the Wolverines kept up the intensity and were able to add another goal when senior midfielder Breanna Dewaal linked up with Tripp, who fired her shot past Smith in the 90th minute.
After a busy week of four games in eight days, the Wolverines will have nearly a week off before their next game. UVU will travel up to Logan to take on the Utah State Aggies on Friday, Sept. 3. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 5 p.m. MT and can be streamed on the Mountain West Network.