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Young Wildcats handle Utah on Utes' field

Weber State women's soccer co-coach Lynn Kofoed has seen the second-year program grow quickly, from a 7-7-2 record in 1996 to a team that was unbeaten at home or on neutral fields in '97. The Wildcats had won three straight games and were 5-1-1 going into Tuesday afternoon's match with the University of Utah's 3-year-old program.

"We were just kind of waiting for everything to all click together," said Kofoed. "Today, you saw it. Everything clicked, from the back line to the front line. I knew it was coming. A great performance by everybody."The Wildcats forced the issue the entire game at Ute Field, beating Utah 2-0 in a game that was useful mainly as a tuneup for both teams going toward their conference tournaments - the WAC at Dallas Nov. 5-8 and the Big Sky likely at Montana next week.

Each team has two regular-season games remaining, both this weekend on the road. Weber's record jumped to 14-3-1, 6-3 on the road, while Utah dropped to 9-9.

Weber outshot the Utes 20-14 and forced Ute goalie Tawni Martineau to make 11 saves, while Utah's shots were rarely on target. Weber goalie Quincy Blood-Pearce had to make only four saves as she picked up her second shutout in the past four games as the replacement for the injured Amber Ivie-Smith. Blood-Pearce has surrendered only two goals in her last four starts and came into Tuesday's game with a 1.09 goals-against average.

"She was in the right place at the right time," said Utah coach Amy Freeman Winslow, who regretfully added, "We didn't create many quality chances."

"Everybody on this team wanted this game," said Kofoed. "If we play this kind of a game, we can win the Big Sky - if we play with that much heart and that much intensity and possessing the ball and moving it around.

"It's nice for our seniors to be able to say they beat Utah," Kofoed said.

"Weber deserved it," said Freeman Winslow. "They wanted it. The Utah players assumed they would win. It's a good lesson for our younger players."

Weber scored a first-half goal at 13:06 off a corner kick, Jamie Jensen getting the deflection hustling in the box with Melanie Miller getting the assist. Celeste Collins scored at 48:03 in the second half on a rush when Mary Bates lured Martineau out away from the goal, and a teammate made too soft a backpass toward her. The ball was kicked to Collins for a nearly unencumbered shot.

Utah played most of the game without senior sweeper Amanda Schmutz, the team's best communicator, said Freeman Winslow. "We missed Amanda in back," she said. Schmutz started but left quickly when a strained medial collateral ligament in her right knee demanded more rest.