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Yes, the Spiders still exist

After 2 months on the road, Utah returns to its home

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For those wondering, yes, the Utah Spiders women's soccer team still exists — it's just been on road for the past two months.

After opening the season on May 6 with a home victory over San Francisco, the Spiders hit the road for six straight games. It was a successful road swing as they went 3-3, but Utah is just glad to be home. The expansion Spiders host the Vancouver Angels Saturday at 7 p.m. at Juan Diego High School.

"I think we've improved quite a bit from the first game," said Spiders coach Marco Rossi. "Everything went perfect in that game; we were driven by the crowd. And if the crowd's there again, we'll be even better."

There will be one noticeable void when the Spiders face Vancouver. Maren Hendershot, who scored the franchise's first goal in that 4-0 win over San Francisco, is no longer on the team. She accepted an assistant coaching position at UNLV.

Other than that, the Spiders' personnel hasn't changed much.

Personnel problems do exist in the Women's Premiere Soccer League, particularly because the players aren't paid. The teams benefit because college players can keep their amateur status while still playing in the league, however, they have to make money somehow. As a result, at varying times throughout the season certain players can't make some practices and some games.

"That's the big challenge, but it's nobody's fault," said Rossi.

Vancouver features a number of players with Canadian National Team experience, most of which came while playing with the junior teams.

Practically two months separated Utah's first home game from its second, but there's not even two days separating the Spiders next two games. They return to the field on Monday at 2 p.m. to face the California Storm, the league's top team.

E-mail: jedward@desnews.com