SALT LAKE CITY -- The Weber State soccer team is getting closer, but unfortunately for the Wildcats, the door is still firmly hinged shut.
Despite commanding play for long stretches of both halves, Weber State suffered a 1-0 setback to instate rival Utah on Friday night at Ute Field.
Weber State, which dropped its fifth 1-0 decision of the season, fell to 1-6-0, while Utah improved to 3-4-1 with its third win in four matches.
Utah scored in the 50th minute, with Ute freshman Avery Ford (Bonneville High) hitting a short-range shot after a turnover for the 1-0 advantage.
Weber State had a pair of fantastic opportunities in the final 20 minutes, with sophomore forward Felicia Sortor twice breaking through the Utes' defense in 1-on-1 opportunities, including one that went off the crossbar.
Senior forward Jessie Baddley also forced a free kick as Utah goalkeeper Hannah Turpen make a strong save to force a corner. That corner set off a massive scramble in front of the goal that saw the ball repeatedly kicked until it was cleared by the Utes.
The teams battled fiercely during a switching first half that saw each take control for 15 minute stretches of play.
Next up for the Wildcats is New Mexico State at noon on Sunday at Wildcat Soccer Field. It will be the first match of the season at home for Weber State. The Aggies are 6-2-1 on the season after drawing Idaho State 1-1 in double overtime on Friday.
* 'CATS AT MSU INVITE: After a two-week layoff, the Weber State cross country teams are back in action this morning in the 30th Montana State University Invitational. The meet is being held at the Bridger Creek Golf Course in Bozeman, Mont.
The men run at 9 a.m. over a 5-mile course, with the women running a three-mile race beginning at 9:40 a.m. Teams in the field include host Montana State, along with Montana, Utah State, Rocky Mountain College, MSU-Billings and Carroll College.
Coach Paul Pilkington is taking all nine of his men's squad this week. He said he looking to find his lineup for the rest of the season, and to see who has made the most improvement over the past two weeks.
"This meet will determine our traveling squad for the Notre Dame meet in two weeks," said Pilkington. "This will be the first meet for Brett Hales and Chris Burnett so it will be nice to have them back.
Hales rested the first meet to regain some strength, while Burnett missed the USU meet with a back injury.
Montana State is the defending champion. The Bobcats won last year's race with 30 points. Utah State was second with 47, followed by the Wildcats in third with 70. Hales was fourth in last year's race covering the five mile course in 25;15.00.
The WSU women will be taking 13 runners to this week's meet, and like the men, Pilkington is looking for his travel lineup for the Sept. 30 Notre Dame meet.
"Our top four runners are solid with Sarah (Callister), Amber (Henry), Laken (Hintze) and Taylor (Thornley)." said Pilkington. "I really need to find out who our fifth, sixth and seventh runners are going to be, so that will make for some good competition within our team as well this week."
Callister and Henry did not run at the USU Invitational two weeks ago, giving them some more rest. Thornley was the individiual winner at the USU Invitational.
In last year's MSU invite, Montana won with 31 points, followed by Weber State with 46. Utah State was third with 87.
Individually, Sarah Callister finished third in the 2010 meet in a time of 17:00 over the 3-mile course. Natalie Haws was sixth (17:32) and Henry was ninth (17:44).