By Jill Ivie
Inexperience proved to be the determinant as the men”s soccer team was handed its first loss of the season by the veteran Utah Blitzz Saturday, May, 10.
“They knew what they were doing in the offensive third,” said BYU head coach Chris Watkins. “Our guys knew, but they weren”t composed.”
The quick, on-the-ball smooth touches and strong finishes that characterized the Blitzz”s play, earned them their first goal of the game in the seventh minute of action at their home opener.
Blitzz”s Adolfo Ovalle placed the ball in the upper, left corner of the net off of a 30-yard penalty kick to put his team on the board early. He was followed three minutes later by a header in the back of the net by teammate Ariel Bravo.
The Cougars were handed a 3-0 deficit courtesy of the sweet touch by Jorge Estrada that allowed him to beat two Cougar defenders and flick the ball past BYU goalkeeper Eric Walunas. The Blitzz”s final goal came in the 87th minute, off of the foot of Matt Broadhead.
“I was happy with our possession,” Watkins said. “I though we knocked the ball around quite well. There were a lot of things I was happy with. I wasn”t happy with our defensive third and our offensive third.”
The loss, which brings the Cougar record to 1-1 in league play, came without the help of two absent regular starters Chad Deshler and Nate Lowe.
The Blitzz are members of the USL Pro Select League which is competitively more advanced than the Cougars Premier Development League.
The Cougars ended with six shots on goal, just short of the Blitzz”s ten.
“The shots turned out to be pretty even, but they put theirs away and we didn”t,” Watkins said. “In soccer that is what counts.
BYU forward Matt Affleck missed a near opportunity to put the Cougars on the board with a strong, diving header to the far, right corner of the net. Blitzz goalkeeper and former BYU goal coach Chad Sackett punched the ball out of play early in the second half. Travis Winn had a follow-up header off of the corner kick to end the play.
“We”re better than this, and we are anxious to prove it,” Watkins said. “We”ll get two more times and we”ll prove it.”
The two teams will face off again at the Cougar”s South Field on July 5 and July 15.
“They are definitely more experienced and you could tell,” said BYU midfielder Jeff Jensen. “We”re just getting used to each other, and they”ve been playing together for years. They were the better team today, but we”ve got a lot of room for improvement. We”ll do a lot better next time.”
The Cougars will be back at home this weekend to face the Southern California Seahorses on Friday, May 16, at 9:30 p.m. and the California Gold on Saturday, May 17 at 9:30 p.m.