The Southern Utah University soccer team opens up a two-game homestand this week starting on Thursday, Oct. 12, when they take on the Abilene Christian University Wildcats. They’ll follow this up on Sunday, Oct. 15, facing the Tarleton State University Texans.
The Wildcats come into this matchup 7-6-1 overall and 2-3 in conference play. They are ranked sixth in the Western Athletic Conference standings, which is the last playoff spot. Junior Chayse Thorn, who is third in the WAC and eighth in the nation in goals, leads the team and has scored 12 goals on the season. Defensively, the Wildcats split goalkeeping time between sophomore Lili Ross and redshirt sophomore Savanna Alba, who have 14 and 24 saves on the season, respectively. They are coming off a 3-1 loss to Utah Valley University and are on a two-game losing streak.
Tarleton State enters this conference showdown 4-8-3 overall and 1-3-1 in conference play and are in a four-way tie for seventh in the WAC with Southern Utah, Stephen F. Austin and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. On offense, the Texans are led in scoring by sophomore Rylee Low, whose eight points on the season are good for eighth in the WAC. In the goal, the Texans are held together by sophomore Mikayla Kendall, who has a conference-leading 98 saves on the season. Tarleton State is coming off a 3-0 loss to Seattle University, which moves their current losing streak to three.
The centerpiece of this team is sophomore goalkeeper Julia Ortega, who is second in the conference in saves with 77 and sixth in save percentage with .713. The offensive attack is led by redshirt sophomore Whitney Gardner, who has four goals and four assists on the season. These games are crucial for Southern Utah in their hunt for the playoffs, as two wins could move them up to third overall in the conference.
Author: Aidan Mortensen
Photographer: Anden Garfield
Editor: Anden Garfield