Utah Tech women’s soccer welcomes new assets, learns from loss

The Utah Tech women’s soccer team celebrates their first win against the University of South Dakota. As they cheer, they reflect on how to improve for the rest of the season. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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There is a new future for the Utah Tech University women’s soccer team as they made changes during the offseason by adding new assets to the team.

Despite the new additions, it hasn’t affected the team’s chemistry.

The new additions to the team include:

  • Head coach Lexi Brown 
  • Two assistant coaches, Juli Nield and Nick Vorberg
  • Nine incoming freshmen 
  • One transfer from Utah Valley University

Coach Brown said coming into a program with high-quality players already committed are things she is grateful for.

Regardless of her new position, Brown and the team came out and secured their first victory of the year with a 3-1 win over the University of South Dakota. 

Goalkeeper Brianna Frey, a sophomore management major from Salt Lake City, said the team had to reshape and overcome the challenges of having a new head coach. 

“As a team, we just carried so much energy coming in,” Frey said. “We stayed with a positive attitude. We knew the changes that were going to happen, and we know it’s kind of scary, but I think just remaining super positive and uplifting each other, we have a very positive group and a good team chemistry.”

This season, the Trailblazers are looking to build on what they accomplished last year. They ended the 2022 season with a 10-6-2 record and made it to the Western Athletic Conference tournament. 

Brynlee Rider, a senior exercise science major from Layton, said her personal goal for the season is to score more goals and put the ball in the back of the net. She also shared some team goals. 

“I think obviously one of our biggest goals is to get back to and go deeper into the WAC tournament,” Rider said. “Right now we’re focusing on our attack. We’re really trying to slow the tempo down, connect passes, and then get forward into the attack as a team.” 

This is Brown’s first year as a head coach. Brown said the preparation and stress are much higher compared to being an assistant coach.

Ultimately, she said she is confident, ready and grateful for the pressure that comes with being a head coach. 

Brown started her collegiate soccer career playing for UVU. After graduating, she helped coach the Wolverines as an assistant coach for two seasons before leaving to coach for Gonzaga University, where she spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach.

Brown led Utah Tech into its home opener Aug. 24 against the University of Idaho Vandals. It wasn’t until late into the second half that the Vandals took control on the field pushing deep into Trailblazer territory and taking a shot to land the lead. With 13 minutes left, Utah was looking for a last-second goal to put them back into the game. However, there wasn’t enough time for the Trailblazers to answer back, and they ultimately lost the game 1-0.

With every failure comes a lesson, and the loss against Idaho is no different. Brown recognized what the team could improve on and provided insight into how they wanted to play as a team. 

“We would like to be a team that presses a little bit higher and that plays a little bit more cleanly in transition,” Brown said. “We needed to do a much better job to maintain possession and keep the ball tonight, and it showed that we’ve trained transition a lot and haven’t really trained on keeping the ball.”

The women’s soccer team advances to 2-2-1. The Trailblazers will take what they can from the loss against Idaho and face Gonzaga University Sept. 3 in Spokane, Washington.