By Jordan Christiansen
Playing at home under the lights of South Field one more time, five BYU seniors contributed in capping off an undefeated record at home, defeating Weber State 1-0 on Tuesday.
Honored before the game on Senior Night were forwards Katie Larkin and Katie Fellows Hodgkiss, along with defenders Jessica Carter, Karen Cook and Amanda Draeger.
Junior Andrea Willis and sophomore Nicole Urry, who started in place of an injured Draeger, joined Carter and Cook on the backline to force another shutout. The experienced backfield has allowed just one goal at South Field all season and has helped goalkeepers McKinzie Olson and Aleena Shelton post 11 shutouts in 2008.
Larkin, the team leader in goals scored this season, had a game-high seven shots, four of them on goal, against the Wildcats while Hodgkiss, tied for third on the team with four goals this season, registered the second-most shots with four.
“It was a really emotional night for our team,” coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “It just an amazing group of seniors we have. They”ve given so much to this program on and off the field. They”re loved so much by their teammates and their coaches and everybody around them.”
After talking with the team”s athletic trainer, Draeger sat out her final home game with a sprained ankle from Saturday”s match against Air Force. She hopes to be at full strength for the MWC Tournament next week and possibly the Cougars” game at Wyoming this Saturday. Watching from the sidelines, Draeger had more of a chance to soak in one more night in front of the home crowd.
“It”s a crazy feeling,” Draeger said. “It feels like senior night, but it just doesn”t feel like the end. It”s an emotional road for all of us seniors to have this be the last time on our home field. It”s unfortunate the timing to get injured and not play tonight. I think tonight our seniors gave it all they had; they really put themselves out there and really gave the crowd a show their last time playing on the home field.”
BYU”s lone score came off an impressive left-footed shot by freshman midfielder Auna Janis. Getting the ball from the left side angle, Janis sent a laser of a shot into a small opening in the top left corner of the net. The goal was Janis” third goal of the season, all of which have been game-winners.
The Cougars outshot Weber State 24-4, with 11 corner kicks to the Wildcats” zero. Now at the cusp of the postseason, however, BYU will need to be more efficient if it hopes to advance in the MWC and NCAA tournaments.
“Certainly, the most important part of the season is coming up and we”re doing everything we can to be better,” Rockwood said. “We”ve done great so far but it only really matters what happens at the very end in the last few games. That”s where we”re striving to be our best and do better.”