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Wolverines Fight Off Comeback Bid, Wind to Win GWC Opener
Oct. 7, 2011
GRAND FORKS, North Dakota - Utah Valley fought off a second-half comeback and winds approaching 50 MPH to win its Great West Conference opener, 3-2, at North Dakota on Friday at Bronson Field.
Natalie Young scored two goals including the game-winner in the 84th minute to give the Wolverines (6-6, 1-0) their season-best third straight win.
"The wind really affected both teams adversely," said UVU head coach Brent Anderson. "It picked up even more in the second half and it was difficult to keep the ball down and develop any rhythm. UND played very hard and showed character in coming back and all we could do is stay organized and make the most of our chances and we did."
Young got the Wolverines in the scoring column quickly, scoring the game's first goal just 3:46 in on an assist from Jaime Lyons. Haley Curtis made it 2-0 with her fourth goal of the season - in the 31st minute - with Ashley Burdett picking up the assist and the Wolverines taking advantage of the wind at their backs, entering the half with a 2-0 lead.
The Fighting Sioux (4-6-3, 1-2) came back in the second half with goals from Megan Anderson in the 52nd minute and the game-tying goal by Rhaya Ballon in the 64th.
Young scored her game-winner at the 83:40 mark, in a half where Wolverine chances were hard to muster because of the heavy winds.
"It was really bad," Anderson said. "But if it wasn't for the wind she may not have scored that goal. She took the shot and the wind kind of helped bend it down into the goal."
Utah Valley returns home for a busy week with three games in six nights starting with in-state rival Southern Utah on Monday at 4 p.m. MT. The Wolverines will also face Howard (Oct. 13) and Houston Baptist (Oct. 15) at the end of the week in GWC action.
Monday's game vs. SUU is Hometown Hero day for Burdett, a senior from Providence, Utah. Posters of Burdett will be handed out with an autograph session following the game while fans from her hometown of Providence will get into the game for free.