Soccer season starts strong

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    By Amanda Egbert

    BYU women?s soccer team was undefeated in its first two home games against Utah State and Weber State this past weekend.

    ?We had a good start and team effort. Chemistry is important especially with nine new players, they were welcomed by the upper classmen,? BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. ?We are building our confidence level, especially with scoring, which we did not do last season. We have improved our ability to finish.?

    The lady Cougars beat Utah State 5-0 Monday night and defeated Weber State 5-1 on Friday.

    Two of the five Cougar goals were scored in the first half. Carolyn Swenson set the tone, scoring after a fast break down the line by Bobbi Tillotson and a pass from freshman Katie Larkin. Tillotson scored next with assists from Jamie Beck and Annie Zwahlen.

    The second half brought three more Cougar goals. Beck headed the ball in off a cross from the corner by Tillotson for goal three. Defender Claire Thomas fired a long one-touch shot straight over Utah State?s keeper, assisted by Brooke Bowman and Natalie Nate. Goal five was scored by freshman Jessica Aquino, heading the ball in after a pass from Whitney Feller and a cross from Katie Fellows.

    Tillotson really set the momentum and led the offense on Monday night, Rockwood said.

    While offense was busy getting 17 shots off and scoring five goals, BYU defense was stealing the ball, on the ground, picking people off and blocking USU. Led by returning defender, Thomas, BYU defense shutdown the Aggie?s offense, only letting them take three shots on goal, continually moving the ball back to the midfield and setting up opportunities for BYU to score.

    ?Honestly it is just covering spaces; moving for each other, moving together and being on the same page. You have to see the spaces that you need to be in,? Thomas said. ?Defense is an attitude, a necessary confidence when playing little or big teams.?

    In the battle against Weber State, Aquino came off the bench early scoring a hat trick, totaling three goals, to assist the Cougars in their 5-1 win for the first home game.

    Aquino, a freshman midfielder from Riverside, Calif., played a strong game, significantly contributing to the Cougar offense. Aquino showed a great team effort, improving and scoring a lot in practice, making her way into the lineup early in the game, Rockwood said.

    Aquino scored the first goal of the game, assisted by a throw in from teammate Zwahlen. Aquino?s second goal was unassisted, dropping into the top left corner of Weber State?s goal, just sneaking past Weber State goalie?s, Kandice Golar, fingertips.

    When Weber State?s keeper came out from the goal14 seconds later, Beck turned the ball and dribbled in, scoring an unassisted goal three for the Cougars.

    Goal four for BYU was a left-footed shot, fired from 30 yards out by defender Haylee Cuthbert, a returning junior, assisted by Beck. This was Cuthbert?s first goal for her BYU career.

    ?I had been waiting for this chance forever. I was really just excited? . I had a chance to go in and capitalized on my opportunity,? Cuthbert said.

    The start of the second half brought Aquino?s third goal, totaling five for BYU. Aquino headed the ball into Weber State?s goal after a cross from Tillotson, assisted by Feller.

    ?We work well together. We play for each other and pass the ball,? Aquino said. ?I could not have asked for a better cross.?

    Even with 10 goals and two successful wins BYU hopes to improve for future games.

    ?So far so good. We are getting lots of shots off and we can always do better, ? Rockwood said.

    The lady Cougars now stand at 4-0 for the 2005 season. They will play Denver at 7 p.m. Friday in the South Stadium.

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