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Wildcats oust Utes from tourney

University of Utah's Adele Letro and University of Arizona's Claire Bodiya head the ball in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
University of Utah's Adele Letro and University of Arizona's Claire Bodiya head the ball in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

So much for that anticipated Utah-BYU rematch Saturday afternoon in the NCAA women's soccer tournament.

Instead it will be all Wildcats in the second-round match Saturday at 1 p.m. at Ute Field.

Arizona completed the Wildcat sweep by upsetting the Utes 1-0 Thursday night before a record crowd of 1,650, after Weber State knocked off the Cougars in Thursday's first game.

It was a tough loss for the Utes (14-7-1), who expected to go further in the NCAA Tournament after losing in the first round the past two years. In 2003, they were upset by Idaho State on their home field in an NCAA first-round game.

Arizona's Mallory Miller, the Pac-10 player of the year and the 9th leading scorer in the country scored the only goal of the game late in the first half and that was all the Wildcats needed.

"I was really proud of our effort and we played really well," said Utah coach Rich Manning. "But credit Arizona. Mallory Miller has 18 goals for a reason. She's good. She was the difference tonight.

Arizona coach Dan Tobias, who is a good friend of Manning's — in fact the two are co-coaches of an Olympic development team — praised the Utes and said his team was fortunate to get away with a victory.

"Utah played great, especially in the second half — they're an excellent team," Tobias said. "But when you have the Pac-10 player of the year, it wasn't a surprise that she was on the end of that first goal."

The Utes forced the action throughout much of the first half. After the Wildcats got a shot off in the first five minutes, the Utes were able to get three shots off, including one by Amanda Feigt midway through the half.

Suddenly, Kelly Nelson found Miller breaking free behind the Utah defense and Miller easily beat Ashley Mason with a low shot into the left corner from 12 yards out.

After the goal, Manning complained to the referee about offsides and still wondered about it afterward.

"She was either offsides or we played her offsides," he said.

Miller, who also scored the only goal in Arizona's earlier 1-0 win over the Utes in September in Tucson, gave credit to her teammate.

"Kelly just drew two defenders to her and slipped a perfect ball into me and I just one-touched right into the corner," she said.

Down 1-0, the Utes came out firing in the second half and made five shots in the first 10 minutes, including two by Feigt and two by Adele Letro, the Utes' leading scorer this year. The Utes kept pushing the action and flooded the Arizona defense in the last 10 minutes in an effort to score without luck.

"We had a couple of chances, but it just didn't go our way," said Letro.

For the night, the Utes out-shot the Wildcats 13-7 with an 8-2 edge in the second half.

Arizona's goalkeeper, McCall Smith, who played for Skyline High School, kept the Utes out of the nets all night and finished with seven saves.

"It was awesome getting the chance to play in front of my family and friends," she said. "Give credit to our defense, they made it pretty easy for me tonight."