Utah returns several key players from the 2018 season when it finished fourth in the Pac-12 Conference—its second-highest since joining the league in 2011—and narrowly missed out on making the NCAA Tournament.
The Utes got on a roll late in the season, dropping only two of its final nine matches. Included in that run were wins over No. 7 Washington State and No. 21 Colorado, and a draw with No. 2 USC. The win at CU was Utah’s first on a ranked opponent’s home field since 2007. The Utes also recorded their first win over Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., and their first victory all-time against Cal, which also happened on the road. Utah finished with nine wins overall and 6-4-1 record in Pac-12 play.
Leading the attack up front in 2019 will be senior forward Ireland Dunn, who led the team with seven assists and was second with four goals a year ago. Sophomore forward Makayla Christensen had three goals and eight points to rank fourth on the team in both categories last season.
Four seniors will be counted on to hold things down in the middle and back line. Holly Daugirda has a pair of goals and nine assists in her career. Tavia Leachman was an NSCAA All-Pacific Region second team selection in 2016 before injuries limited her availability he last two years. Haylee Cacciacarne played in all 19 games last year. She has four goals and five assists in her career. Aleea Gwerder played in the back row in every game the first two years of her career before playing in just 11 games in 2018.
Sophomore defender Hailey Stodden earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman team in 2018, getting a goal and an assist while playing in all 19 games. Juniors Jessica Hixon, who scored a goal, Kristin Fairbairn, who had two assists, and Natalie Kump all played significant minutes in the midfield area a year ago.
Senior goalkeeper Carly Nelson finished the regular season atop the Pac-12 charts with 92 saves. She also led the league with six shutouts in conference play. Her eight shutouts overall were one away from the Utah single-season mark. She was at her best in some of Utah’s biggest games, making nine saves against Washington and then blanking top-10 ranked Wazzu to earn Pac-12 keeper of the week honors. She had 21 saves in the last two games against USC and Colorado.
Hailey Skolmoski and Tavia Leachman were invited to the 2017 U.S. Under-23 Women's National Team camp.
Utah soccer traveled to Germany for three matches during a 10-day stretch in May 2017. The Utes traveled to a number of cities including Frankfurt, Munich and Augsburg while also making a jaunt into the Alps. Utah played matches against SC Opel 06 Ru¨sselheim, MTV Dießen and FC Staad. The team also took in a Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and Hamburger SV, visited a TSV Hoffenheim practice at its training ground, and took a tour of the Allianz Arena, home of German champion Bayern Munich.
Meet members of the Utah soccer team and find out what being a Ute is all about.
"We love working with the ball, playing ball and having a ball. There is nothing like testing yourself to be your best alongside great people. Our team is bursting with players and staff that love the game and want to push each other. I love coming to the University each day. We have such a positive and energized environment. We love representing the Utes. And I see our players every day achieving great things on and off the field. It's AWESOME!"
"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing."
"After graduating, I spent six years chasing my dream all over the world. Utah has always been a special place for me, not just because I played here but because it became my true home. I have always known I wanted to coach and envisioned this path. I am ready to get to work and put all I have into this program because I want to help these amazing student-athletes achieve their dreams."
"I am excited for this opportunity to be working with the University of Utah this season. I cannot wait to get going with this coaching staff and goalkeeper group."