‘Smash Sisters’ leading Cougar defense

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Taylor Isom celebrates after scoring a goal against Utah. Isom and Danika Bowman have led BYU’s defense to three shutouts this season. (BYU Photo)

Fans of BYU soccer have come to know the “Bash Brothers” on the men’s team. Now as they watch the women’s soccer team, they are getting to know the “Smash Sisters.”

Matt Rider and Ethan Meyer played for the BYU men’s soccer team as center backs. Rider and Meyer were nicknamed “Bash Brothers” due to causing shutouts and tag teaming forwards went against them.

Similarly, Taylor Isom and Danika Bowman play center-backs on the women’s team and have earned a similar nickname, the “Smash Sisters.”

Isom and Bowman have played together as center-backs and helped contribute to three shutouts in BYU’s six wins. The Smash Sisters smother opposing forwards physically, making offense tough to come by.

Isom and Bowman have played almost every minute of the seven games BYU has played, connecting well with each other and anchoring the Cougar defense.

Isom is a junior from Sandy and a three-time 5A state champion, a Denver Regional US Club Champion and a Disney Showcase Champion. She was recruited by Alabama, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Utah State and others, but chose to come to BYU because it was her dream.

“I came to a BYU game when I was 8 years old,” Isom said. “I wanted to play in front of thousands of people. That was my childhood dream.”

Her defensive specialty on the field is taking defending scorers one-on-one.

“I love one versus ones,” Isom said. “I love getting into forwards’ heads, because I know once I’m in their head they’re done.”

She embraces the uphill challenge and enjoys playing with her counterpart, freshman Danika Bowman.

“Danika trusts me and I trust her,” Isom said. “We always have each others’ back.”

That trust is displayed on the field, where their chemistry is undeniable.

Danika Bowman dribbles the ball at Haws field against Tennessee. Bowman is a true freshman. (BYU Athletics)
Danika Bowman dribbles the ball at Haws field against Tennessee. Bowman is a true freshman. (BYU Photo)

Bowman hails from Redlands, California. She’s a three-time ODP regional champion, a three-time ODP national champion and a three-time Cal South National Cup Champion. Her lofty reputation followed her to Provo where she slid into a starting center back spot immediately.

She was recruited by a number of universities, but said she knew instantly that BYU would be her home.

“When I came on a visit, it was just so obvious to me,” Bowman said. “On my way home, Coach Jennifer Rockwood called me and I just wanted to say ‘yes,’ but I tried to play it cool and said I’d call her back.”

Bowman, like Isom, loves taking on a ball-handler one on one.

“When I win a physical battle it gives me a little confidence,” Bowman said.

Bowman also loves taking the field with Isom.

“She’s such a dominant player,” Bowman said. “I learn so much from her because she’s so knowledgable about the game.”

The Cougars are off to a 7-1 start this season and are preparing to start West Coast Conference play.

Rockwood said she knows how important Bowman and Isom have been to her team’s success and recognizes they’ll need to continue to play well.

“On both sides of the ball, they’re both doing a phenomenal job,” Rockwood said. “Our three shutouts, they’re a huge part of that and the success we’ve had.”