A late scoring surge doomed the Aggies in a potential upset bid against the University of Utah Wednesday.
Utah State (2-7), fell to the eleventh-ranked Utes 16-9, but the final score doesn’t indicate how close the game was. Heading into the dying minutes of the third quarter, the Aggies were neck-and-neck with their in-state rivals 7-7 after thwarting several attempts by Utah to pull away.
Ultimately, the Utes did manage to pull away, going on a 9-2 scoring run in the last 20 minutes of the game.
Sophomore defender Brody Bolerjack said the late scoring run came as a result of a “lack of lacrosse IQ. We weren’t communicating as much. We let kids run as they wanted across the goal.”
Head coach Troy Oldham said even though his team didn’t win, he was proud of their effort against a highly ranked team.
“For our guys to come out and play as hard as they did and be able to compete, that meant a lot to us,” Oldham said. “We didn’t get the W today, but I’m proud of how they played.”
Injuries have hampered Utah State throughout the season. In nearly every game, they have lost a starter or key back-up to a season-ending injury. Those losses have taken their toll on the team’s depth.
Junior goalkeeper Berkley Baskin said that the numerous injuries had an impact in the Aggies’ loss.
“We’re down players, so our guys got a little tired,” Baskin said, “and obviously they had a bigger team and were able to keep their subs going and keep their legs fresh, so we just ran out of steam and weren’t able to stay with them.”
The game did have its positives on paper. The Aggies won 21 faceoffs to the Utes’ seven. And the Aggies had assists on seven of their goals while Utah had just four.
Utah State will continue the action with another big game against BYU Saturday morning at 11. BYU will come into the game as the fourth-ranked team in MCLA. It will mark the fourth straight game the Aggies have played a team ranked in the top 15.
Oldham knows that his team has a tall order to take down the Cougars.
“It’s gonna be tough, it’s gonna be a battle just like this one,” Oldham said. “It’s gonna come down to whether or not we can hold and keep the momentum that we start in the first part of the game.”
Despite the challenges, Oldham is confident that his team will come out strong.
“We’re going for a W’” Oldham said. “We have nothing to lose. They have everything to lose.”