In their weekend homestand, the Aggies continued their winning ways with a pair of victories over Mountain West competitors. They defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 4-0 on Friday and finished the weekend with a hard fought victory over the San Jose State Spartans 2-1.
Utah State, coming off of a recent loss at Colorado College, sought to bounce back against Fresno State, who were 1-2-1 in conference play. The Aggies held control over the first half, posting eight shots with no results. It wasn’t until the 72nd minute until the score changed. After a Fresno State foul, the Aggies had a free kick, which was taken by senior forward Jessica Brooksby. Brooksby crossed the ball in finding Jayne Robison-Merrill, the senior midfielder, who put the Aggies up 1-0.
That first goal opened the floodgates as the Aggies would score three more times all in the span of 10 minutes. After Robison-Merrill, Brooksby notched another assist when she found Wesley Hamblin on a cross, which was put away quickly. Joining the scoring fest was junior defender Rachelle Warner who scored her first career goal on an unassisted shot. Closing the scoring was Brooksby, who continued her dominance in with her 6th goal on the season. The Aggies would finish out strong, winning by a final score of 4-0.
Sunday saw the San Jose State Spartans who came into Chuck and Gloria Bell Field with a conference record of 3-1-1. The Spartans pressed early, controlling the ball easily after the whistle. In the 6th minute, San Jose State’s midfielder Yaritza Arista took a shot near the box and put the Spartans up 1-0.
The Aggies would continue to put together solid runs downfield, with little luck, until defender Shyani Terukina dribbled into the box and was tripped up, giving Utah State a penalty kick in the 30th minute. Brooksby would take the kick and score, tying the game and giving the Aggies momentum.
“It was a great run by Shyani,” Brooksby said. “She just got after it, and we wouldn’t have gotten back into (the game) without it.”
The rest of the first half was composed of tough defensive stops and some aggressive tackling from both sides. The Aggie defensive backs contributed greatly to the success of the team, as numerous defenders ran up and down the field, pressuring San Jose State and their own defense.
“You just feel it and go with it,” said Kelsey Andersen, a sophomore defender, speaking on the two runs she took from the Aggie penalty box deep into Spartan territory.
Through rough sets and a handful of yellow cards awarded to both teams, the Aggies found a way to score. In the 86th minute, Warner continued her class play by driving through the Spartan defense. After a pair of missed tackles and some confusion on the Spartan’s behalf, Warner found a cutting Brooksby at the top of the box. Brooksby shot, and Brooksby scored. Again.
The goal sealed the Aggies win and kept them on top of MW standings at 5-1-0 in conference play. Utah State will head out back on the road next weekend, playing at New Mexico on Friday and at San Diego State on Sunday.