#42 Utah Women's Soccer 2014 Preview

Utah Utes

Overall Rank: #42
#6 Pac-12
#42 Utah Women's Soccer 2014 Preview
Utah Team Page


Utah surprised many by going 6-3-2 in Pac-12 play and finishing in third place behind UCLA and Washington State. The Utes were rewarded with a trip to the NCAA Tournament, but fell in overtime to a seeded Texas A&M squad. Reaching third place in the conference again may be asking too much, but that was a pretty young Utah squad and nine returning starters certainly have their eye on returning to the tournament.

2013 Record: 10-5-6, 6-3-2
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rich Manning

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Katie Taylor, Senior, M, 5
Assists: Ashton Hall, Senior, F, 5
Shots: Ashton Hall, Senior, F, 38
Saves: Lindsey Luke, Junior, GK, 92

Other Key Returnees: F Taylor Slattery, F Baylee Nielsen, F Monica Larsen, M Katie Rigby, M Kaycee Buckley, D Megan Trabert, D Jill Robison, D Avery Jenkins, GK Cheyanne Mulcock

Key Losses: M Allie Wisner, D Jenny Hutton

Utah will stick around every game because of their defense. And it starts between the posts with keeper Lindsey Luke. In 17 appearances she allowed just 11 goals and earned College Sports Madness Second-Team All-Pac 12 honors. In a 1-1 tie against UCLA towards the end of last season, Luke made eight saves against the eventual national champions. With performances like that, the Utes can beat anybody on any given day. Megan Trabert, Monica Larsen, Sarah Duncan and Jill Robinson are all upperclassmen defenders with starting experience. Coach Rich Manning also brings in Audrey Gibb, a transfer from Oregon State to shore up the already potent defense.

Katie Taylor, Ashton Hall, Taylor Slattery and Baylee Nielsen are now more experienced, but Utah needs them to take advantage of scoring opportunities. Taylor is the team’s top returning goal scorer with five, while Slattery added four and Hall and Nielsen netted three each. Slattery, a 5-4 sophomore, will be an interesting player to watch. She only started five games as a freshman and took just 16 shots, but four of them did find the back of the net. Whether used as a super sub or a regular starter, Slattery could be the impact player up top that this team needs.

Final Projection:
A five game road trip in October that begins in Westwood and ends in Berkeley will be the telling time for Utah. If they can manage to get a few good results during that stretch, the Utes will be a player in the Pac-12. What it comes down to is taking advantage of those few opportunities that they will get. If somebody can turn into a quality finisher up top, Utah’s hopes will go well beyond the Pac-12.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.43 (143rd in nation, 8th in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.698 (23, 4)
Shutout Percentage: 0.476 (42, 3)
Save Percentage:  0.879 (7, 2)

Madness 2014 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#75 Mariah Elmer


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