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Letro's golden goal lifts Utes past AFA

Air Force thought Thursday was finally its night to defeat the Utah women's soccer team. The Falcons, who had never beaten or even tied the Utes in nine attempts, held onto a 1-0 advantage with 90 seconds remaining in the MWC match. For the Falcons — who were nervously eyeing the scoreboard as the clock wound down — it would have been a huge upset.

Not so fast.

When there's a weapon like Ute forward Adele Letro on the field, it's never over.

Sure enough, the junior forward, who, coming into Thursday's match, was the second-leading goal scorer in the nation, booted the equalizer into the back of the net after the ball bounced around in front of the goal.

The Utes (10-2-3) breathed a sigh of relief, and later won on a golden goal scored by (who else?) Letro on a penalty kick after she was mugged running toward Air Force's goal eight minutes into overtime.

The game had a definite letdown feel to it. On Saturday, the Utes dealt BYU its first loss of the season. In the showdown between MWC powers, the Utes played their guts out. But against Air Force, they didn't play with a lot of tenacity — especially in a low-effort first half in which they took only four shots.

"We thought we could play the game without playing, you know, 100 percent effort," said Utah coach Rich Manning. "We played a team that was playing at 110 percent."

Manning has been disappointed with his team's first-half performances throughout the season but you can't argue with the results. The Utes extended their unbeaten streak to 12 games and improved to 2-0-1 in the MWC. Air Force dropped to 0-4-0 in conference play.

Letro, who tallied her 13th and 14th goals of the season in the match, believes that Utah plays best under pressure.

"That's when our team decides to wake up: when we get scored on," Letro said.

The Utes fell behind 1-0 in the 68th minute when Air Force's Katherine Slogic scored from six yards out.

But Utah didn't panic and managed to pull out a 2-1 come-from-behind victory.

"We have confidence that we can come back and score, which we did during the very last minutes, but we did it," Letro said.

The Utes are in action against New Mexico on Sunday at Ute Field.