Hope looked to be on the horizon for the Idaho soccer team, and then the mirage disappeared in the form of a 3-1 loss Sunday against Utah State.
The Vandals (4-12-1, 1-3-1) had multiple opportunities to strike against the Aggies (9-2-6, 4-0-2), including 12 total shots, six of which were on goal. Only a Chelsea Small 81st minute goal found the back of the net for Idaho.
“We were doing well to create opportunities, but we didn’t get enough people in the box,” Idaho coach Pete Showler said. “In the second half, we did a fantastic job of that and when that happens we’ve got to finish off those opportunities.”
The goal, Small’s sixth of the season, came when the Vandals were down 2-0 to the Aggies with only nine minutes left to bring Idaho back within striking range. The Aggies followed up the Small 25-yard strike with an 87th minute goal via forward Mari Miyashiro to give Utah State back their two-goal advantage.
The first half started like Thursday’s 2-0 victory against San Jose State ended, with the Vandals getting opportunities to jump on the Aggies before allowing a 35th minute goal to substitute Jade Tarver. Tarver took a long cross and put it under Idaho goalkeeper Liz Boyden to make the score line 1-0, the same score that held going into halftime.
“We executed the game plan and worked our socks off,” Showler said. “We pressured them high, got them to turn the ball over, and they were on their heels a little bit. They’re very well-organized, very well-coached.”
Tarver also notched an assist on the afternoon when she fed Ambryn McCallson, who finished past Boyden to make it 2-0.
The loss drops the Vandals to eighth place in the WAC standings with three matches to play before the WAC Tournament. The tournament, which takes place Nov. 1-4 in Logan, Utah, takes the WAC’s top six teams, which means that the Vandals have some work to do to get into the postseason.
Idaho will next travel to Ruston, La., to face La. Tech 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 21. The Bulldogs (12-1-3, 3-0-1) currently sit in second place in the WAC.
“We have to go to La. Tech and we have to get a win, there’s no two ways about it,” Showler said. “We’re expecting a really tough game and they’re riding high right now, so it’s no easy game.”
Madison McCord can be reached at email@example.com