Cougars’ historic season earns them a No. 1 seed

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The BYU women’s soccer team just completed a historic season, during which the Cougars took down powerhouse opponents and met new heights.

“This has been amazing,” BYU’s former goalkeeper and current assistant coach Mckinzie Olson said. “It has been obviously one of the most successful seasons BYU soccer has ever had. I think it’s amazing, comparing this season to last season, because it’s a lot of the same team and so it’s amazing how they really stepped up this year and made the most of every game.”

The Cougars end the regular season with a record of 18–1–1, not being beaten since August 25 on their way to the highest ranking in school history at No. 4. BYU outscored its opponents this season 47–10 and tallied 11 shutouts. BYU also beat five ranked teams including No. 6 Penn State and No. 11 Long Beach State.

The Cougars were led in goals by Michelle Murphy and Jessica Ringwood, who each scored eight, and by Carlie Payne Holmoe and Jaiden Thornock, who each contributed six. Holmoe led the team with nine assists, with Murphy adding seven.

Regular season awards and recognitions included Michelle Murphy being named as the All-WCC and All-American freshman of the year. Murphy was joined by teammates Cloee Colohan, Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall and Erica Owens on the All-WCC First Team with Jaiden Thornock, Carlee Payne Holmoe and Jessica Ringwood earning All-WCC Second Team honors. Owens was named to the All-America Second Team, and two-time All-American Cutshall was named to the All-America Third Team. Coach Jennifer Rockwood was also named the WCC coach of the year.

After completing a miraculous season, the Cougars were rewarded Monday as the NCAA unveiled their tournament brackets with BYU as a No. 1 seed. This means the Cougars will likely host all postseason games until the final four, should the Cougars make it to that point.

“It has been such a fantastic year, and we’re so pleased to represent the West Coast Conference,” Rockwood said in a press release. “Earning a No. 1 seed, obviously, is a big deal, and the girls have worked so hard for this. It doesn’t matter who we play, we’re just ready and I know these girls will play their hardest.”

Having not lost at home all year, the Cougars can’t be more excited about the prospect of playing at home, especially as the competition strengthens in the tournament.

“It’s a really big deal,” Olson said. “South Field is one of the toughest places to play in the country, and it’s never easy to come in and get a win. Honestly, it’s crucial to our success in the postseason, and it really worked out for us that we will have so many home games, assuming we get past the first round. It’s a huge advantage for us.”

The Cougars’ first tournament game will be against in-state rival Utah State on Friday at 6 p.m. at South Field. The Cougars beat the Aggies earlier in the year in Logan 1–0.

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