LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State soccer made its season debut Friday, as it defeated Southern Utah, 4-0, in exhibition play at Chuck & Gloria Bell Field.
The Aggies took 16 shots on the day, out-shooting the Thunderbirds who tallied six. Utah State utilized 21 field players and three goalkeepers throughout the exhibition, including all eight new freshmen. Southern Utah had just three shots on goal, of which came in the first half to give sophomore Maggie Richey three saves. Senior Sara Cobb and freshman Samantha Aguilar then split the second half of playing time.
The first half of Friday's match was fairly back-and-forth, as the teams exchanged possessions. Midway through the half, Utah State broke the scoreless draw at the foot of senior forward Rachelle Parrish. Sophomore midfielder Kanyan Ward delivered a shallow cross through the top of the box, where Parrish put it into the net.
Utah State came out stronger in the second half, dominating play early on. Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo had several chances, as she drilled three shots in 90 seconds, but each narrowly missed the goal. Senior forward Bailee Hammond maintained the momentum though, as she dribbled nearly 70 yards on her own, maintaining possession and finishing with the goal. Just a minute later, the Aggies continued to extend their lead on a goal from Ward. After a cross behind and through the box, a touch from freshman midfielder Karstyn Peterson got the ball to Ward in the 56th minute.
Both teams rotated through several players over the next stretch, while the ball spent the majority of the time in the Aggies' attacking third. Just seconds after returning to the pitch, freshman forward Sadie Mertlich was able to score the fourth and final goal of the day. After a corner kick, junior midfielder Emma Clark crossed it to Mertlich, who tapped it in.
On the day, Hammond and Cardozo led the Aggies with three shots apiece, while Hammond had two on goal.
The official 2017 season will get underway next weekend. The Aggies are set to host South Dakota State on Friday, Aug. 18, at 4 p.m. The weekend will continue in a match against Montana on Sunday, Aug. 20, at 1 p.m.
Fans can follow Utah State soccer on Twitter, @USUSoccer, on Instagram, @USUSoccer, as well as on Facebook, at /USUSoccer. Aggie fans can also follow Utah State Athletics on Twitter, @USUAthletics, on Instagram, @USUAthletics and on Facebook at /USUAthletics.
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