After beating Utah State 2-1 Saturday, the No.1 seeded BYU women’s soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament and will take on the Auburn Tigers Thursday at South Field.
“We couldn’t be more excited to play,” BYU Coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “Our big goal this year was to make it to the tournament and so we’re excited. We have a great opportunity ahead of us so we need to make the most of it.”
The Cougars’ victory over the Aggies was the their second victory over their in-state rivals this year, the first coming in Logan with a score of 1-0.
With the win, second and third rounds of the tournament will take place in Provo. Marquette and Princeton will play at 3 p.m. Thursday after which the Cougars will play the Tigers. The winners of the two games will face off Saturday at 5 p.m.
The Cougars have not lost at home this year and look forward to hosting the coming games with the record-setting South Field crowd behind them. The Cougars have excelled in all facets at home this year, outscoring opponents 34-6 and with the cold weather and high-altitude, the trend is likely to continue.
“Hopefully it will be a big advantage,” sophomore forward Jaiden Thornock said. “Being from Alabama, I don’t feel like (Auburn will) be used to Utah’s climate with the altitude and the cold. I’m excited to see how it all plays out.”
The West Coast Conference champion Cougars’ vaunted defense is holding opponents to 7.8 shots per game and have allowed a mere 11 goals this season for a per game average of just over half a goal per game.
The Auburn Tigers are 13-10-1 on the year and come to South Field after beating a solid Washington team in the first round 2-1. This is the Tiger’s seventh-straight invite to the NCAA tournament, this year recieving an at-large bid after falling to Florida in the SEC tournament championship game.
“We know that they’re really athletic, fast and strong and they work really hard, but we’ll see,” senior defender Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall said. “We’re really looking forward to the game and hoping for the best.”