As 4,557 anxious fans pack into the South Field stadium to see the No. 5 Cougars play, Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall lines up to take her free kick. As the team’s free kick specialist she is used to the pressure of coming through for her team on what is typically one of the best scoring situations her team will get. With the game at home she pauses and soaks in the energy the crowd is exerting while impatiently waiting to see what Cutshall has in store. She takes a deep breath and goes through her ritual of analyzing the defense and spacing herself for the kick. The two-time All-American strikes the ball and the crowd goes wild… Goal!
This is how the cool Friday night began for the BYU women’s soccer team against division foe Gonzaga. After Cutshall’s remarkable free kick, the Cougars would score three more goals on their way to the 4-1 victory.
“It was a great game for us,” BYU Coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We wanted to come out nice and hungry and ready to score some goals. We love playing on this field in front of so many fans because it gives the girls a lot of energy. I was really proud of the girls to remain calm and composed and really play on the offensive. It was fantastic.”
BYU allowed a mere four total shots in the game, all in the second half, as they improved their season record to 14-1-1 and 3-0-1 in West Coast Conference play.
The Cougars have not yet lost at home, protecting the South Field with a home record of 9-0-1 while outscoring their opponents by an astounding 27-6.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for our crowd,” Cutshall said. “They’re exciting to play for. They’re so loud and always cheering and celebrating. Its just an exciting environment to be in.”
Throughout the season the Cougars have beaten some of the top teams in the country and shown the world that BYU women’s soccer is a force to be reckoned with. As they have climbed up the rankings, a target has begun to form on their backs as conference rivals seek to dethrone the highly rated powerhouse. But the Cougars thrive off of the pressure.
“It’s a little different being in the top 10,” junior midfielder Cloee Colohan said. “We definitely have more pressure, but we love it, and we thrive off of knowing everyone wants to beat us.”
And so the player who is widely considered one of the best in women’s college soccer, hit the go ahead goal in the first half and then retreated to her natural defensive position to frustrate any and all potential scores before they take form. As Cutshall’s team and her goalie turn away the persistent Gonzaga Bulldogs desperate attempts on offense, she is so excited and grateful to the stellar defense her entire team exudes.
“(Cutshall) like buying some great policy from an insurance company,” Assistant Coach Chris Watkins said. “It’s rock solid, and nothing is gonna happen as long as she’s back there.”