LAS VEGAS — Top-seeded Utah took care of business in its opening game of the Mountain West Conference Championship on Wednesday afternoon with a 3-0 win over eighth-seeded Air Force in the quarterfinals.
The Utes, who moved into the NSCAA/adidas poll at No. 22 this week, had goals from Katy Reineke, Amanda Sanchez and Kim Lloyd. Adele Letro picked up two assists on Utah's first two scores.
Utah (14-5-1) won for the seventh time in its last eight games and will face fifth-seeded New Mexico in the semifinals today. Air Force, which kept it a one-goal game for the first 68 minutes, finished its season at 4-16-1.
"We are very excited to advance to the next round," Utah coach Rich Manning said. "I was very impressed with Air Force. We played a lot better against them today than we did when we played them before in Salt Lake City and they (AFA) did too. As well as we played, we really had to work for everything. It took a lot of work to create a few chances. We worked hard and I think our offensive game was in good rhythm today. And I think that will bode well for the rest of the tournament."
The Utes outshot the Falcons 24-3 and set up all four corner kicks in the game. Twelve of Utah's 24 shots were on goal. Ute goalkeeper Ashley Mason made two saves, while her counterpart Erin Wallace was forced to make 10 stops.
Utah got on the board in the 26th minute with Reineke's third goal of the season. Melissa Crespo drove down the middle of the field and connected with Letro, who volleyed a pass into the middle of the box. Reineke fired the shot into the right corner of the goal.
In the 69th minute, Sanchez notched her first goal of the season just moments after re-entering the match. Sanchez collected the rebound off of a shot by Letro.
Utah added its final goal on a free kick by Lloyd. The score was the third of the season for the senior from Monrovia, Calif. Lloyd followed up a Falcon foul by knocking in the 25-yard freebie from the left of the box into the upper right-side of the net.
SAN DIEGO STATE 2, BYU 0: Although the No. 14 Cougars outshot San Diego State Wednesday evening in Las Vegas, the Aztecs played one of their best games this season, upsetting BYU, 2-0.
"We're disappointed with our performance," BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "San Diego State played harder, hustled more than us, and wanted it more."
SDSU got on the board in the 30th minute when Erika Sutton found herself six yards in front of the BYU goal with three Cougar players scrambling for the ball. Sutton turned around and found herself at point-blank range. BYU keeper Erika Woodbury came out to make the save, but Sutton tapped the ball in just past Woodbury's outstretched hand.
The Cougars had several solid looks early in the second half, including a rocket from Bobbi Tillotson that hit the top of the cross bar, but SDSU goalkeeper Cat Burson played tough, making several excellent saves.
The Aztecs widened their lead with a goal by Lisa Nielsen in the 65th minute. Nielsen received a cross from Sutton and fired a shot from eight yards out into the back of the net.
BYU now sets its sights on the NCAA and an at-large bid from the tournament selection committee. The first-round of the tournament will be played on Nov. 10.
New Mexico vs. Utah
SDSU vs. UNLV/TCU