The BYU men’s soccer team beat cross-town rival Utah Valley University 4-1 in an aggressive match Saturday night.
“(UVU) always make it fun,” junior midfielder Toni Niccoli said. “It’s a good game, nice and physical.”
Many players took a few hits throughout the night that landed them in the grass for a few moments before being able to stand again.
Sophomore and captain Colby Bauer agreed it was a decent match up and physical game.
“Individually they are a talented team,” Bauer said. “But I think that we’ve been around together for a while so we played more unified. We play more as a team, so individually I think talent-wise it was competitive, however as a team it was not.”
BYU played especially well in the first half of the game, keeping the ball on UVU’s side of the field and taking many shots on goal.
“I thought we dominated the whole game,” Niccoli said. “Even though we only put four away, although that is a good feed.”
BYU ended the first half having shot 17 times and kicking seven corner kicks, while UVU only had one shot and no corner kicks.
The Cougars had a lot of positive things come together tonight that helped solidify them as a team.
“I think the communication from the back was good, which organized our team,” Bauer said. “When the reserves came on they brought a lot of energy. Overall, I thought we performed well. We put it in the net, so that’s all that matters.”
BYU scored three goals in the first half, showcasing the talents of defender Sterling Hancock, who scored off a header from the side, and forward Toni Niccoli, who were able to register goals within five minutes of each other.
UVU scored a surprising goal in the second half that hit the goal post and bounced in to the goal box.
“We can always work on possession,” Niccoli said. “Keeping the ball, and finishing, if we had put three or four more away they probably wouldn’t have had any momentum to get that one at the end.”
While the second half allowed a point for UVU, it also made way for Bauer’s shining moment to score a goal for his grandfather.
“My favorite part was scoring for my grandpa,” Bauer said. “He’s on his death bed and I scored for him tonight. I told him I’d score for him.”