With less than a minute left in regulation, it looked like the Utah women’s soccer team’s “curse” of losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament was going to continue Thursday at Ute Field.The Utes were down a goal to Idaho State when Utah’s Melissa Wayman, a defender who had been moved to center forward less than a minute earlier, was fouled in the goal box by an ISU defender.The resulting penalty kick by Katy Reineke tied the score with 30 seconds left, and the Utes capped off an amazing victory with Amanda Feigt’s goal four minutes into the second overtime.With the 3-2 victory, their first NCAA win since 2002, the Utes move on to face Portland, the defending national soccer champion, at 5 p.m. Saturday at Ute Field.Perhaps the most relieved person was Ute coach Rich Manning, who had been frustrated by the Utes’ lack of NCAA success the past three years. It looked like it was happening again to an underdog opponent before the Utes’ late-game heroics, or good fortune.Although many on the ISU side disagreed with the call, what most people saw was a collision between Wayman and the Bengals’ Kim Crosbie just in front of the goal as each tried to head the ball.First-year Idaho State coach Allison Gibson wasn’t disputing the call afterward but said, “It’s so tough from our angle. I talked to the ref after and he said it was as clear as day, so I’ll accept that. But you’d like to see them decide it on the field.”Wayman said “it definitely was a foul” on ISU, adding, “I’m usually the one causing the foul, but that was not my foul.”Referee Jeff Young couldn’t talk directly to the press, but through an NCAA spokesman he said “the ISU player speared the Utah player” and that otherwise it would have been no foul if both players had gone straight up for the ball.”It’s an absolute heartbreaker,” Gibson said. “We were within 30 seconds of beating the No. 10 team in the country. It was a battle right to the end, but unfortunately we couldn’t clear the ball out of the box.”The Utes had already beaten the Bengals in Pocatello this season 3-1, but they knew things could be different in the NCAA Tournament as they found out in 2003 when the Bengals beat the Utes in a first-round game in a shootout.Idaho State struck first when the Utes made a defensive mistake and as two defenders and Mason converged on the ball, ISU’s Michelle Okumura was able to knock the ball into the open net.Just five minutes into the second half, the Utes got the equalizer when Adele Letro took a cross from Melissa Crespo and capitalized on a mis-play by the goalkeeper.But a mis-play by Utah’s Mason in the 66th minute gave the Bengals a 2-1 lead when Okumura score into an open net when the ball slipped away from Mason.”There was a lot of gift-giving out there tonight,” said Manning.With just over 20 minutes left, the Bengals put most of their players back in an effort to stop the Utes’ last-ditch effort.”That was a hard thing to try to get a goal when they had the whole city of Pocatello sitting in front of the goal,” said Manning.Reineke, a sophomore from East High, was more than happy to take the penalty kick. “I wanted it. I like taking them, so I took my usual shot.”The game was decided with less than six minutes left in the second OT when Feigt’s hard shot from the right angle bounced off Lyndsay Gensler’s hands and into the goal. Earlier in the game, Feigt hadn’t converted on six shots on goal and said, “I was so (mad), I just nailed it and hoped it would go in.”If the Utes can defeat Portland Saturday, they’ll move on to the Sweet 16 next week for the first time. “In the four years Ashley (Mason) and I have been here there’s always been the curse of the first round,” said Wayman. “A lot of things didn’t go our way tonight, but I think we all feel very fortunate to come away with a victory. It was a good lesson learned.” E-mail: email@example.com
This cover image released by Algonquin Books shows “The Lightest Object in the Universe,” a novel by Kimi Eisele. (Algonquin Books via AP)“The Lightest Object in the Universe” (Algonquin Books), by Kimi EiseleWhat would happen if the world experienced a global economic collapse? Imagine a time when the electrical grid fails, cellphones are dormant and the flu is as dangerous as the plague. In “The Lightest Object in the Universe,” author Kimi Eisele explores how humanity would have to evolve, relying on hope and love to ultimately sustain humankind.Without a school of students to educate, high school teacher Carson decides to trek across the United States on foot in search of Beatrix. Even though they had only spent a few days together before the collapse, he never forgot her. He knows the journey will be very long and extremely dangerous, but Carson feels that facing these uncertain times with be easier with Beatrix by his side.Along the way, Carson meets an interesting cast of characters. Gangs of ruthless children resort to violence in search of food. Forward-thinking individuals band together on bicycles to form a letter-carrying service. He also encounters several droves of families who travel in packs, determined to make it to The Center, a place for new beginnings. Pastor Jonathan Blue uses radio airwaves to broadcast the promise of a brighter future.As a historian, Carson is interested in Blue’s unique broadcasting method. He’s also suspicious. If The Center holds the solution for all mankind, why is it cloaked in mystery?Beatrix wonders the same thing. She uses the resources and talents from the individuals left in her town to bombard the airwaves, just like Blue. Instead of propaganda, she presents practical advice and her own brand of hope for all who listen.Eisele places the fate of Carson and Beatrix’s love story in the hands of a young girl named Rosie Santos. Her choices will ultimately decide if Carson’s journey ends happily ever after. Will Rosie fall into the darkness of the collapse, or will she persevere and be the lightest object in the universe?