The No. 19 BYU women’s soccer team returned home Thursday to play Pacific with a lot on the line. A win would keep its current winning streak alive. A win coupled with a Portland victory over Santa Clara would put the Cougars in position for at least a share of the West Coast Conference title. BYU was ready, beating Pacific 3-1.
The Cougars’ streak of five straight shutouts ended early as Pacific scored on a perfect shot that goalkeeper Erica Owens wasn’t able to get to. However, after that, the game was all Cougars. Shortly after the first goal, midfielder Cloee Colohan scored her fifth goal of the season and made the game 1-1 going into the half.
“Coming out in the second half we really wanted to increase our attack,” said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. “We really encouraged our attacking players to test their defense.”
The encouragement worked. BYU scored in the first minute of the second half as forward Colette Jepson Smith headed in a free kick for Colohan.
“I knew the kick was going to be on goal, so I just wanted to get into the box,” Smith said. “Cloee kicked a beautiful kick directly at the keeper, and I happened to beat her to it.”
With less than ten minutes to play, forward Ashley Hatch put a stamp on the victory, scoring her fifth goal of the season on a header, assisted by defender Ella Johnson.
Following the Cougar victory, the University of Portland beat Santa Clara 3-1, forcing a three-way tie for first in the conference. BYU now controls its own destiny Saturday in its game versus Saint Mary’s. A win will ensure at least a share of the conference championship.
“We are still trying to win a conference championship and get a tournament home game,” Rockwood said. “Saturday’s game will be the most important of the year for us.”
A win Saturday will not only ensure a share of the conference title but will position the Cougars well for Monday’s NCAA tournament selection show. BYU is hoping for at least one home game for the tournament.
“A home game would be huge for us,” Colohan said. “Just to be here on our field with our fans would be amazing.”