Soccer's comeback falls short at Jackson Stadium
GREELEY – The Northern Colorado women's soccer team fell in its second home match of the season Sunday, losing 2-1 to Utah State.
The Bears (0-3-1) fell behind early before battling back and finding a goal late. The Aggies (4-0-0) held on for the victory.
Utah State managed to find the game-winner when forward Shantel Flanary scored her second goal of the game on a shot from 17 yards out that sailed past Northern Colorado keeper Kirstin Salminen's arms and into the upper left-hand corner.
The game's first goal came in just the fifth minute of play, as Flanary scored her fourth goal of the young season when put the ball home after receiving a cross from Kendra Pemberton.
"When you get down early, you just have to chase the game a little," Northern Colorado coach Tim Barrera said. "I mean, one goal isn't like five. You just have to play the way you want to play.
"I thought the team fought back well. We made some personnel changes in the second half, especially putting (freshman) Madison (Yoswa) in the back, which helped us push forward. We just ran out of time."
After the quick goal, the Bears settled down and began focusing on finding the equalizer. Both teams had a number of chances in the first half, including several Northern Colorado crosses into the box that could not find feet on the other side.
Coming out of halftime, the Aggies were able to mount some more offensive pressure. Fifteen minutes into the half, both Flanary and Kersey Davis had attempts at goal from point-blank range, but Salminen came up big with a save on Davis' shot, while defender Eryn Daniel kept the ball out of the net after Flanary's attempt.
As the game wore on, the Bears began to gain momentum as their sense of urgency increased.
After a number of threats, Northern Colorado finally broke through a two-game scoring drought when JJ Wykstra put home a cross from Danielle Birdsall in the 81st minute. Yoswa also was credited with the first assist of her collegiate career.
With renewed intensity, Northern Colorado continued to push forward offensively, but couldn't find the equalizer as time ran out.
Next up for the Bears is the beginning of a four-game road trip as they make the short trip to the Air Force Academy on Friday, Sept. 2, to take on the Cadets Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Barrera is looking for the team to bounce back from a grueling start to the season.
"We knew that our first four games would be difficult," he said. "Denver was undefeated last year in the Sun Belt Conference, Colorado is a Pac-12 team, Jacksonville played in its conference final last season, and Utah State was picked to win the WAC this year.
"We have a veteran team, but we also have some younger players that are coming along. We just need to step up and play."