Aug. 19, 2006
LOGAN, Utah - Despite having a 24-13 shot advantage, Utah State played to a 1-1 draw with Dixie State College in an exhibition soccer match Saturday afternoon at a sunbathed Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
"This was a good start for us, but we found several areas to improve on and things that we will fine tune to be ready for the regular season," Utah State head coach Heather Cairns said.
The Aggies fired plenty of shots, with 13 of the 24 being on goal, but just could not find the net. The Rebels managed eight of their 13 shots on goal.
Coming on as a halftime substitution, sophomore goalkeeper Lisa Willardson made five saves in the second half and overtime periods, while fellow sophomore Ali Griffin recorded two saves in the first half.
After a scoreless opening half of action, Dixie got on the board first with an unassisted goal in the 53rd minute from just inside the 18-yard box from Tauni Huddleston.
Utah State countered with a goal from senior forward Charity Weston in the 57th minute, taking a long pass of a free kick from freshman defender Lindsey Smart and burying the ball in the back of the net.
"I give a lot of credit for our girls battling back and scoring a goal," Cairns said. "That shows great character. A match like this has a lot of what-ifs, for instance what if we had put one of those goals in early in the first half. However, this is a character builder for us, but we need to clean up our rhythm as you could tell it was the first match of the season."
Both teams had shots clank off the framework and Dixie had a major scoring opportunity squelched in the 33rd minute, as a penalty kick was washed out by an offsides.
In a somewhat physical match, Utah State was whistled for 21 fouls, while Dixie committed 16 fouls and received one yellow card.
Utah State's lineup was bolstered by the return of senior forward Charlsie Harris, who missed the 2005 season with an injury. Harris started and logged two shots.
"Getting the freshmen experience was important for their confidence, as well as getting them involved with the rhythm," Cairns said.
The Aggies officially open regular season action Friday, Aug. 25 at Pocatello, Idaho against Idaho State. Utah State returns to the friendly confines of Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field on Tuesday, Aug. 29, hosting intra-state foe Weber State in a match slated for 4 p.m.
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