SALT LAKE CITY, UT – (GoHuskies.com) Behind goals from freshman forward Kelcie Hedge and senior defender McKenzie Karas, No. 19 UW women’s soccer won its 10th game of the season and completed an unbeaten weekend with a 2-0 victory over Utah at Ute Soccer Field on Sunday, Oct. 11.
“That’s a tough, tough match to finish a long weekend,” UW head coach Lesle Gallimoresaid. “Physically and mentally, you have to credit the whole team for toughing out this weekend and coming out with points. I’m really proud of them for that effort. We’re happy to go home with a win.”
With the victory, the Huskies (10-2-2, 3-1-1 Pac-12) have now gone unbeaten in their last four Pac-12 matches, including a draw in Colorado against the Buffaloes on Thursday, Oct. 8.
The shutout was senior goalkeeper Megan Kufeld’s fifth of the season and 21st of her career. Kufeld finished with three saves on 13 Utah shots.
Hedge scored in the 24th minute to open the scoring, giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead on her third goal of the year. Junior midfielder Amanda Perez set up Hedge perfectly, dribbling near the edge of the box before playing a ball to Hedge on the run that she buried with a left-footed strike. Perez was credited with the assist, her second of the year.
The Huskies’ pressure continued and just five minutes later, Karas, the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, scored her first goal of the year and third of her career. Junior defender Havana McElvaine played a corner kick from the right side that found Karas streaking to the goal on the back post. Karas took one touch to finish past a Utah defender and give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. McElvaine recorded her third assist of the year.
“It was a perfect corner kick and the ball went over both defenders, and I was just there to tap it in. That felt great. I was just happy to be able to contribute to a great team win.”
The Huskies started the game fast, dominating possession from the opening whistle and peppering Utah goalkeeper Lindsay Luke with shots in the initial minutes of the game. UW was strong going forward, with numerous dangerous chances, and finished the first half with six shots and three corner kicks to just three shots and zero corners for the Utes.
Utah immediately turned up the tempo to begin the second half, but the Washington back line, led by Karas and fellow senior center back Allyson Brahs held the Utes without a truly dangerous chance until the closing minutes of the game. Utah recorded five corner kicks and 10 shots in the second half, only two on goal that Kufeld handled comfortably.
“I liked the way we started the game, to go up 2-0,” Gallimore said. “We talked about needing to play like we are up 2-0. We don’t want to panic and down the stretch, I thought we could’ve been more dangerous in the second half.”
The Huskies now enter a crucial three-game home stand that will see Arizona State, Cal and Stanford visit Husky Soccer Field in the coming two weekends, beginning with the Sun Devils on Thursday, Oct. 15. All three games will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter at @UW_WSoccer.