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Arizona, Utah soccer battle to scoreless draw in Salt Lake City

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Sabrina Enciso
Photo by Ryan Kelapire

It’s hard to score in Salt Lake City.

Arizona and Utah battled to a scoreless draw Friday, as the Utes posted their sixth shutout in seven home games this season.

Freshman goalkeeper Hope Hisey ensured the Wildcats escaped with a point by making nine saves, a new career-high.

Arizona is now 8-4-1 overall and 2-3-1 in the Pac-12. The Utes, the lowest-scoring team in the conference, are 6-5-4 and 1-2-3.

Jill Aguilera led the Wildcats with four shots, though it was one of her corner kicks midway through the first half that generated one of Arizona’s most dangerous scoring chances.

Samantha Falasco collected the service at the far post with a clean look at the goal, but her angled shot was reeled in by Pac-12 saves leader Carly Nelson.

Arizona’s Jada Talley, Brooke Wilson and Sabrina Enciso fired two shots apiece. In the 12th minute, Enciso lofted a cross into the box and Wilson headed it on frame, but Nelson slapped the looping shot over the bar.

Talley made a run into the box in the ninth minute, bursting past a pair of defenders, but Utah’s Tavia Leachman found a second gear and deflected the UA forward’s shot to safety.

Arizona outshot the Utes 14-12, though Utah had seven corners to Arizona’s six. The Utes had a header ring off post early in the second half and another clang off the crossbar in the first overtime period.

Holly Daugirda put a powerful shot on goal in the 56th minute, but Hisey dove to her right to knock it away.

Arizona’s attack fizzled a bit as fatigue set in and Utah’s propensity to hang back made it difficult to create scoring chances, but there were a few late-game sparks.

With a minute left in double overtime, Wilson centered a pass into the box to a streaking Morgan McGarry, but the redshirt senior could not get her foot on the ball as she got tangled up with a Utah defender.

Talley took a rip from the top of the box in the final seconds, but it sailed over the crossbar.

Barely.

Arizona hosts the Oregon schools next week, looking to snap a two-game winless streak. The Wildcats entered the week 34th in RPI, but could fall a few spots with the Utes being 52nd.

Three of Arizona’s final five games are at home, and only one of those five is against a ranked opponent—No. 2 Stanford, in Palo Alto—so it will be a good chance for them to work their way up the conference standings.

As of Friday night, the Wildcats were tied for sixth in the Pac-12 with Washington State with seven points, though the Cougars have played one fewer game.

To give an idea of how tight the conference is, only two points separate Arizona from fourth-place UCLA and ninth-place Oregon State. The Beavers will be in town next Sunday.