Utush provides winner in 48th minute
Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
November 2, 2017 (Las Vegas) - Second-seeded San Diego State used a 48th-minute goal by Aliyah Utush and a stellar defensive effort to dismiss third-seeded Boise State, 1-0, in the Mountain West semifinal round Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas. The win secured the Aztecs a spot in the MW championship game and upped their record to 11-7-2.
The game-winner came just 2 minutes, 39 seconds after halftime when Utush, a second-team all-MW performer, dribbled 20 yards down the pitch and put her shot past Broncos goalkeeper Janelle Flores. Her successful upper-tank shot was her sixth goal of the season.
The rest of the half was like the first with neither team finding the back of the net. The first 45 minutes, however, belonged to Boise State (13-6-3) as it outshot the Aztecs, 9-5, and attempted four corner kicks. The tide turned in the second half with SDSU outshooting the Broncos, 4-3.
With the decision, San Diego State has now qualified for the conference final six straight seasons, which is a new Mountain West record. SDSU set the new standard previously held by Brigham Young when it reached five consecutive MW title games (1999-2003). Additionally, San Diego State is in line to make its 10th championship game appearance in league history.
The Aztecs are in a position to claim their fifth Mountain West tournament crown as a result of a dominating defensive effort. SDSU, which defeated Boise State, 2-0, on the road during the regular season, held in check a Broncos offense that scored 21 goals in their previous seven games, going 6-0-1 in the process. In fact, the loss to San Diego State snapped Boise State’s 8-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2).
Utush finished the game with three shots, all of which came on target, and shared team-high honors with senior classmate Angela Mitchell, who also had three shots. Chloe Frisch, an MW all-newcomer team selection, added two shots with one on net.
Holding down the SDSU defense was goalkeeper Gabby English, who recorded her sixth shutout of the season. English and the defensive backline, which featured starters Sarah Broacha, Dani DeRosa, first-team all-MW performer Stacie Moran and Ariana Robles, helped blank Boise State for just the second time since a 2-0 setback to Washington on Sept. 8. SDSU was responsible for both shutouts and it came against the highest-scoring team in the Mountain West (conference games only).
The Aztecs will now face the winner of Thursday night’s game between top-seeded San Jose State and fourth-seeded New Mexico. The MW championship game is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. PT at UNLV’s Peter Johann Memorial Field and will be stream on the Mountain West Network.