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Taylor's late PK gives Utah 1-0 win over BYU in duel match

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah midfielder Katie Taylor nearly put her team on top of visiting BYU in the 30th minute, ripping a shot from the right side of the box on which Cougar goalkeeper Kat Snyder made a diving save to keep out.

When she got another chance after the break, the senior made sure to bury it.

Taylor converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute, and the Utah defense made the result stand as the Utes walked away with a 1-0 win over BYU in the first Deseret First Duel of the 2014-15 college season Friday night in front of 2,552 fans at Ute Field.

“I just heard all of my teammates say my name to come and take it,” Taylor said. “I felt like they were all behind me. I wasn’t planning on taking it, but having them all yell my name was a help. I’ve wanted to score on that team (BYU) since I was a freshman.”

Ali Allen drew the penalty with six minutes left in the match, driving into the box on a counter attack that BYU goalkeeper Hannah Clark kept out at the concession of a foul. The Utes then quickly yelled for Taylor to step up to the spot.

It felt like a big game. We had a big crowd, and it's fun to win the game. Both teams competed well. For an early season game, there was a lot of energy. It felt good to win.

–Utah coach Rich Manning

And their senior leader wasted little time stepping into the shot and delivering it into the top right corner.

“It felt like a big game. We had a big crowd, and it’s fun to win the game,” Utah coach Rich Manning said. “Both teams competed well. For an early season game, there was a lot of energy. It felt good to win.”

BYU outshot the Utes, 10-4 in the first half, but couldn’t capitalize. The Cougars (1-2-2) were on the front foot early, and Niki Fernandes ripped a ball that soared inches over the crossbar in the 19th minute.

“Credit to BYU; they’re a terrific team and they came with a ton of energy,” Manning said. “They pressed our build up and I didn’t think we handled it well at first. It took us a while to adjust to it. It’s the first team this year that really pressed us.”

BYU's Ashley Hatch took a shot from point-blank range inside the box that found the back of the net, but her goal was called back for offside.

“I thought we played really well in the first half, so it’s frustrating that we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “That’s how we play, it’s what we’ve got to play like. Had we put a couple in, the game might’ve been in hand. We just have to be able to do it more in the second half.”

The Utes (4-0-1) found their offensive footing after the break, and Katie Rigby’s header off a corner kick in the 74th minute nearly gave her side the lead before Clark came up with the save.

“Obviously, it’s a rivalry, so nerves are going to be there,” Taylor said. “I think it took us a little while to settle down. We came out in the second half a lot more composed and relaxed, and that’s when we started controlling the game a little bit more.”

“It got decided on a PK last year. I think this game is always a tough match. They’re a great team and we’re a great team, so sometimes it comes down to a referee’s decision. But we stepped it up in the second half.”

Utah will face UNLV on Sept. 12 with an unblemished record that includes one tie, a 1-1 draw at Oklahoma on Aug. 24.

“It’s another confidence builder, no question,” Manning said. “We have a lot of big games on our schedule, and for the girls to handle the moment and the emotion and come out with the win, we’ll have that in our pocket the rest of the year. It’s always a good win.”

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Sean Walker


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