Following a difficult loss against heated rival Utah, the BYU women’s soccer team is looking forward to their home opener against No. 11 Long Beach State and Colorado College.
“We all know its going to be a tough weekend, but we’ve had great practices lately,” junior midfielder Rachel Manning said. “So I think we’re ready to play well back on the home field.”
Currently the Cougars are 2-1, tallying wins in Arizona and UC Irvine, with all signs pointing to an eighth straight winning season and a thirteenth straight NCAA tournament appearance for the tradition-rich program.
The Cougars’ home stand begins Thursday at 6 p.m. with a battle against the talented Long Beach State 49ers. The 49ers enter the season with momentum, having won the Big West Crown on their way to an NCAA tournament elite eight appearance last year. Following last year’s results and with a current record of 3-0, BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood knows how difficult the Long Beach State team is but said there is reason to be confident.
“We’ve had a lot of success against ranked opponents at the South Field so we plan and expect to play very well,” Rockwood said. “We know we’ll have a great opponent, but feel if we play how we are capable of playing we’ll have a great result and lots of fun.”
Following Thursday’s game, the Cougars take to their home field again against the Colorado College Tigers Saturday at 7 p.m. The Tigers own a record of 1-0-2, with recent ties against in-state rivals the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado.
Despite the difficult opponents, heading home gives the Cougars optimism and excitement given BYU’s revered home field advantage. After leading the country in total attendance last year, the intensity of the environment at the Cougar’s home turf is expected to be in full effect and prove difficult for this weekend’s visiting teams.
“The fans are what gets us going, its just a fun, loud environment,” senior defender Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall said. “We always want to make sure we perform the best we can for our fans.”
Rockwood echoed this appreciation and love for the home crowd and facility, stating this mindset is shared by every member of the team.
“We’ve worked really hard to get to this point and we love playing at home, love that we get such tremendous support at our games,” Rockwood said. “We just encourage everyone to come out and watch our girls have fun and play hard.”