By Shannon McOmber
Stanford is heading South, hope they brought their gloves.
Despite the impending weekend visits from Jack Frost, the BYU women’s soccer team will host the Cardinals Saturday afternoon, Nov. 11, on South Field in the second round of NCAA tournament action. The Cougars received a first round bye — and couldn’t be more happy about it.
Between the MWC championships and the final games of regular season play, the team has been on the road for three weekends in a row. A standard week of regular class attendance and daily practice on familiar turf was the best medicine for the Cougars’ road weariness, said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood.
But soccer in the snow? The Cougars haven’t given it a second thought.
“If anything, bad weather puts us at the advantage,” Rockwood said. “We’re accustomed to the cold so it won’t bother us. On top of that we’ve got the home field advantage so we come out on top either way.”
The 8th ranked Cougars thought they would be playing a No. 16 Stanford this weekend before the first round NCAA game started. Stanford had been the favorite to win the match-up versus San Jose State from the beginning.
“We looked to play Stanford early on. San Jose State made it into the tournament on an automatic bid and we didn’t expect to see them get past the Cardinals, but we weren’t looking past them,” Rockwood said. “This is soccer and anything can happen.”
Rockwood made efforts to guard against any injuries as the team readied itself in practice for the tournament games.
“We are really healthy right now and we need to stay that way,” Rockwood said. “We have no injuries to speak of and we wanted to keep that going throughout the practice week.”
The Cougars recently regained the participation of Michelle Jensen-Peterson, a Senior midfielder who leads the Cougars on the scoreboards.
Peterson was out of commission for a game and a half, recovering from an ankle injury she sustained while the Cougars were battling Minnesota in one of the final regular season games on the road.
Peterson healed quickly and came back strong in the MWC tournament where she accumulated three goals and one assist over the course of the weekend.