Women’s soccer downs No.6 Portland

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The BYU Women’s soccer team was not expected to go into Portland and beat the No. 6 ranked Pilots.

It was not even supposed to challenge a team that had only lost once and given up only two goals in conference play. It definitely was not supposed to be the best team on the field. Apparently, the Cougars didn’t get the memo.

BYU went into Portland’s hostile environment and pulled out a major 1-0 win against one of the top teams in the country. It took a cross from defender Paige Hunt to forward Ashley Hatch for the lone goal.

“Paige made an amazing run all the way down the field. I just tapped it in for her,” Hatch said.

The Cougar back line played a dominant game again versus a group of talented offensive players, turning away nearly every offensive attack from the Portland Pilots. Any shot that made it through was saved by keeper Erica Owens. The shutout is the fourth in a row for Owens and the fifth in the last six games.

“Paige and Annie (Amos) played the best game of their college careers tonight. They were closing down and stepping in front of great forwards all night,” said head coach Jennifer Rockwood.

With the BYU offense coming into form and the defense continuing to dominate, the Cougars are presenting a formidable challenge as the regular season winds down.

The win at Portland puts BYU in a position to potentially win the West Coast Conference and receive the conference’s automatic birth to the NCAA tournament. Such a big road win will also improve the seeding the Cougars, who received a No. 1 seed last season, receive come tournament time.

While seeds and tournament positions are still unknown, there is one thing that carries no doubt: the Cougars are playing their best soccer of the season and at the right time.

“We’ve been making progress these past five games, and this helps our confidence,” Rockwood said. “I’m glad we’ve been building momentum for the end of the season,” Rockwood said.

The Cougars have three remaining conference games, all at home. The Cougars look to build on this momentum and set themselves up for another deep tournament run after reaching the elite eight in 2012.

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