SALT LAKE CITY – Kelly Bullock and Taliana Kaufusi fired a pair of rockets into the net and the University of Utah women’s soccer team’s back line permitted only a single shot on goal as the Utes knocked off the No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils. 2-0, on Thursday night at Ute Field in Salt Lake City.
This represents Utah’s first win over a ranked team since an April 2021 home win over ASU, then ranked No. 17. The Utes are now an even 6-6-6 in 2023 and 2-4-3 in the Pac-12, while the Sun Devils drop to 10-4-4 overall and 5-3-1 in conference.
“I am incredibly proud of our Utes tonight,” said head coach Hideki Nakada. “We came out strong from kickoff and our players executed the game plan brilliantly throughout the match. Arizona State is the No. 18 team in the country for a reason and they certainly created difficult moments for us to deal with but we never broke. I thought this was the best 90 minutes we put together on both sides of the ball this season and it was a well-deserved result in the end.”
The Utes controlled the pace of play from the outset and wasted little time getting on the board. After an ASU foul earned Utah a free kick, Ryann Cull sent a ball to towards the Sun Devil goal that Maryn Granger headed to Bullock on the left side of the box. The sophomore forward let loose with a right-footed missile that soared past the keeper for an eighth-minute score. Bullock’s fourth goal of the season also netted Granger’s third assist and Cull’s first.
— Utah Women’s Soccer (@UtahWSoccer) October 27, 2023
While the Utes continued putting pressure on the Sun Devils’ back line, collecting three more shots on frame, the Utah defense spent the rest of the half limiting ASU’s opportunities to equalize. Only a 33rd minute try by Ella Opkvitne made it on net and Kasey Wardle secured the lone save she’d need to make to ensure Utah remained in front into halftime.
In the second half, the Utes again struck quickly and this time it was Kaufusi’s turn to get on the scoresheet. The senior from Salt Lake City took possession of the ball on the right side of the box after a perfectly placed pass by Cull. Kaufusi then sent a screaming shot into the net to double her team’s lead in the 50th minute. In addition to Cull’s second helper of the evening, Bullock added one more point to her total, as she was credited…