Any portion of her uniform that had been white at the start of the match was now streaked with mud and grass, visual proof Sydney Smith had given it all she had.
Smith, a Caldwell High alum, made nine saves in goal as the Boise State women’s soccer team took Utah to double overtime on Sunday at the Boas Soccer Complex. Utah junior Alexis Rushlow scored the golden goal in the 103rd minute on a free kick, ending the Broncos’ best start in program history at four straight wins.
“We’ll learn from it. I don’t think we’re overly frustrated anything beyond we wanted to beat them. We felt like we had an opportunity to beat them,” Boise State coach Jim Thomas said. “We knew that we had to execute when the moments came. And we’ll look at those moments and be able to educate our team about how pivotal moments or sequences in games can change the scoreline, and that will help them for the conference run and the conference tournament.
“But I’m very proud of them. They can go toe to toe with a team that finished fourth in the Pac-12 (last season). It shows you about where our program is at.”
Playing in steady rain throughout the first half, Boise State (4-1-0) was the aggressor early in front of an announced crowd of 539. The Broncos outshot the Utes 8-5 — including 4-3 on goal — in the opening 45 minutes and had several breakaway opportunities but couldn’t convert. The momentum shifted in the second half with Utah eventually amassing a 21-12 shot advantage and 11 total shots on goal.
“In the second half I think (the Utes) were pushing things very, very aggressively, almost recklessly,” Thomas said. “It took us a little bit of time to get used to that, and then you could see that we were starting to get breakaways again as we figured out how to absorb.”
Smith made six of her nine saves in the second half and was able to get a hand on everything the Utes sent her way. Smith even got a bit of her glove on Rushlow’s game-winner.
“That game could have gone either way. We pushed them. They pushed back,” Smith said. “It was really tough. Coming out of that game, I think that we had a lot to take away from that and it was a good game overall. I don’t think it’s gonna be too much of a damper on us, but definitely hard to lose.”
Boise State continues a four-game homestand at Boas Soccer Complex with Weber State (5 p.m. Sept. 13) and Portland State (1 p.m. Sept. 15) next week.
Notes: Sunday’s match featured 12 former Idaho prep standouts. The Broncos have nine Idahoans on their roster, while the Utes have three — Centennial’s Makayla Christensen and Borah’s Kylee Geis and Payton McBride. ... Before their game against the Utes, the Broncos hadn’t hosted a Power 5 team since a 1-0 victory over Oklahoma in 2017.
Volleyball: Broncos win tournament title
Senior outside hitter Janell Walley pounded out 18 kills with a season-high hitting percentage of 57.1 percent to lead Boise State in a sweep of Southern Utah on Saturday in Cedar City, Utah. The Broncos claimed the Thunderbird Classic championship with the 25-20, 25-20, 25-14 victory over the previously undefeated Thunderbirds (5-1).
Walley was named the tournament MVP after amassing 53 kills, 30 digs, 14 blocks and four aces in three tournament matches. Boise State (4-2) also topped Middle Tennessee and Saint Mary’s (Calif.) and has won fourth straight following a pair of losses to No. 9 BYU and No. 16 Marquette to open the season.
Boise State sophomore outside hitter Shae Duffy joined Walley on the all-tournament team, notching double-digit kills in all three matches, including a career-high 15 against Middle Tennessee.