FAU Women’s Soccer: Owls begin the season on a tough note, falling to Utah Valley 5-1

A collapse in the second half sees the Owls lose to Utah Valley 5-1.

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Thelma Hermannsdottir (pictured #20) scored FAU’s only goal in the 5-1 loss to Utah Valley. Photo by Eston Parker III.

Eston Parker III, Photo Editor

In its first match since 2019, the FAU women’s soccer team (0-1-0) faced off against the Utah Valley Wolverines (1-0-0) on Thursday night at FAU Soccer Stadium. Unfortunately for the Owls, they were defeated 5-1 in a performance that can be summed up as rusty.

For the Owls, it is their first loss of the season in their shortened 2021 campaign. For the Wolverines, this is their first official game and victory of the season following their two exhibition wins to start their campaign. 

FAU came into the match as likely favorites, but its lack of games showed tonight.

Utah Valley started the game controlling the majority of possession for most of the opening 10 minutes of the match. However, few chances towards goal were presented towards either side. Despite that, FAU opened the scoring through junior forward Thelma Hermannsdottir notching her first goal of the season off an assist from senior midfielder Sammy Vitols in the 11th minute.

The goal came as a result of a well-executed counter attack, a tactic that allowed FAU to create most of its chances throughout the game.

Following the opening goal, Utah Valley dominated the remainder of the match. They quickly responded seven minutes later with a goal from redshirt junior forward Sadie Brockbank off an assist from freshman defender Grace Beeston. 

The Wolverines continued to control the majority of possession for the remainder of the half, with FAU only attempting two shots as a result. The defense remained steady though, with sophomore defender Amber Tam being a rock at the center-back position with crucial clears to secure the tie for the half.

Some of the team’s rust showed in the first half as five substitutes were brought in, all of which seemed to result in no tactical change, instead appearing to be rotational changes. It comes as no surprise that these subs were used though, Utah Valley’s physicality and seemingly constant pressure on FAU’s defense surely tested the conditioning of the players.

In the second half, FAU were methodically taken apart defensively, allowing Utah Valley to run away with four more unanswered goals. Up until the second goal in the 57th minute, FAU had been unable to effectively break through the Wolverine’s defense in both its build-up play and in any attempted counterattacks. 

Utah Valley continued to maintain control of the match throughout the second half, but the defining moment came following Beeston’s goal in the 57th minute. 

From that point forward, Utah Valley picked apart FAU’s defense throughout the rest of the game. Ultimately, the match ended 5-1 in favor of Utah Valley. 

Beeston’s goal and assist, including Brockbank’s brace of two goals, propelled the Wolverines to their first official victory of the new season. 

The Owls finished the match with only an abysmal one shot on goal for the entirety of the match. They created opportunities seldomly throughout the game, but turnovers and fatigue seemed to plague them throughout their first match back.

FAU looks to recover from the loss on Sunday, as they host USF at FAU Soccer Stadium on Sunday, February 7 at 1 p.m. 

Eston Parker III is the Photo Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @EstonParker.