Last minute goal saves Utah Tech women’s soccer team from loss in conference play

The game between the Utah Tech women’s soccer team and CBU at Greater Zion Stadium Sept. 29 ended in a 2-2 tie. Even though the game ended in a draw, both teams performed well. Mia Tom | Sun News Daily

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The Utah Tech University women’s soccer team scored a last-minute goal Thursday against California Baptist University to close the game in a 2-2 draw.

This Western Athletic Conference matchup saw both teams urgently fighting to come out on top. Despite CBU scoring the first point early on, the Trailblazers remained resilient, displaying teamwork by matching the score of the game twice in the second half.

In the final minutes of the game and being down 2-1, Utah Tech’s offense was in a dire position to score. With a perfectly timed pass, Kearney Hoggan set up Brylnee Rider, a senior exercise science major from Layton, who kicked the ball into the net, leveling the score at 2-2. 

Rider said she has been working on being more confident when driving the ball down the field. Scoring at such a crucial point late in the game gave her the confidence boost that she needed. 

“That ball doesn’t happen unless I have defenders and midfielders behind me supporting me in that attack,” Rider said. “For her [Hoggan] to make that perfect run and saw that ball back across, that doesn’t happen without the rest of my team, so it truly is a team effort.”

Both teams came out and played physically. Players from both sides received multiple yellow cards and fouls. Utah Tech and CBU had a combined total of 19 fouls throughout the duration of the match.

Head coach Lexi Brown said they knew coming into the game that CBU was a physical team that held the ball well and was dangerous on set pieces. 

“We played in more of a mid-block for most of the game defensively and knew that we didn’t want to give up fouls,” Brown said. “I don’t know that we did very well at that, but we knew we didn’t want to get transitioned on. We knew as we played in a mid-block that there would be spaces to go forward.”

Fans from both sides were electric throughout the game. The crowd was eager to voice their opinion, shouting at the referees whenever a foul didn’t go their way. Fans were quick to burst into cheers whenever someone scored or made a play.

Coming out of the half, Utah Tech was trailing 1-0. Lacy Fox got the wheels rolling for the Trailblazers with the help of Michelle Rodriguez, who perfectly placed the ball into the box. Fox was then able to knock it in and even the score 1-1. 

With 30 minutes left in the second half, CBU looked to put the game away. The Lancer’s determination on offense led them to slice through Utah Tech’s midfield and defense. With textbook passing, the Lancers found a way to score, gaining the lead once again. 

Tessa Thornton, a junior communication studies major from Spokane, Washington, said the team’s mindset coming out of half-time was to play to their strengths and exploit CBU’s defense. 

“We know we can come back,” Thornton said. “We’ve done it before. I thought we are a super, super greedy team that could lock back in and have faith and trust in ourselves to go out and give it to them.”

Utah Tech will move to 5-4-3 on the year and 0-0-2 in conference play. The team will play another WAC opponent, Grand Canyon University, at the Greater Zion Stadium at 1 p.m. Oct. 1.