Because he both played and coached at Santa Clara for several years before he came to Utah, Ute soccer coach Rich Manning still has some feelings for his old school.
Of course, he was thrilled his team beat the 19th-ranked Broncos 1-0 Friday at Ute Field, but he had mixed feelings afterward.
"It was a great win," said Manning, who added, "It's not just another game. It's bittersweet."
The Utes got an early goal from senior Kelly Isleib on a free kick after Lauren Hair was fouled just outside the box. Isleib curved it past goalkeeper Bianca Henninger into the lower right corner in the 14th minute for the only goal of the game.
"Lala (Hair) did a lot of the work by getting that foul and put me in a nice spot by the box," Isleib said. "I guess I just curved it in."
From there, the Utes relied on their defense as goalkeeper Hannah Turpen along with the back line of Lauren Porter, Morgan Skeen, Lauren Dudley and Nicole Cardon kept the Broncos out of the net.
"What I found out tonight is that we can compete against the top teams," said Manning. "We played with great heart, defended well and played with a lot of confidence against a really good team."
Besides playing at Santa Clara in 1982-86, Manning was an assistant coach for the women's team for four years, including their national championship year of 2001. He came to Utah the following year.
The victory moved the Utes to 3-0 on the season with four home games coming up, beginning with Sunday's game against Cal Poly at 1 p.m.