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Tired Freezz drop contest to Sockers

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WEST VALLEY CITY — Before the Utah Freezz began their third season last month, coach Jeff Betts said his team would need to do the little things to win games. Without that consistency, it could be a long year.

Utah didn't get those things done Saturday night against the San Diego Sockers, and the result was a disappointing 7-5 loss.

"We gave the ball away all day long," said Freezz player-coach Jeff Betts.

The Freezz fell to 1-1 in WISL play with the loss, while San Diego improved to 3-1. The teams will meet five more times before the season is over, so Utah will have plenty of chances for revenge.

"San Diego was lucky to come in and get us with our dead legs," said Betts. "We won't be like this again."

It won't happen again, assuming Betts doesn't get food poisoning again. With their coach missing for five weeks, you'd think the players would've slouched at practice. Actually, just the opposite happened — they trained too hard.

"I appreciate them working hard, but maybe that's why I'm there, to keep them from working too hard," said Betts.

Betts isn't making excuses, however. The Freezz lost because they weren't playing well.

While his team's poor ball control isn't something to build on, Betts was encouraged by their heart.

After surrendering two quick goals to start the game, the Freezz rallied to go up 3-2 by the end of the quarter, thanks to two goals by Justin Labrum and one by Betts.

Just when the Freezz seemed to be shaking their jitters, they resurfaced again. The Sockers scored four straight goals spanning the second and third quarters to go up 6-3.

The Freezz could've easily given up trailing by three, but Myles Stoddard and newcomer Simplice Djahanou notched fourth-quarter goals as Utah trimmed the lead to one with about three minutes remaining.

"We didn't deserve to win, but we showed a lot of heart to come back," said Betts.

Utah used a sixth attacker to try and get the equalizer, but San Diego capitalized on an empty-net goal.

The Freezz will have five days to juice up their legs before hosting Sacramento and St. Louis next weekend. Betts will be thrilled to welcome back Sterling Wescott, who's missed the Freezz's first two games because of commitments with the Utah Blitzz.

Now that the Blitzz season is over following their 1-0 win over Greenville in Saturday's championship game, Wescott can shift his attention indoors.

"I don't expect Sterling Wescott to come in and be a miracle worker," said Betts. "We don't need a miracle worker."

E-mail: jedward@desnews.com