The No. 19 BYU women’s soccer team closed out the regular season Saturday, Nov. 9, with a dominating 6–1 win over Saint Mary’s. The win gave the Cougars a share of the West Coast Conference championship, their second straight title. The team now prepares to play Weber State in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
“Today was completely a team effort, and we were able to put away a big win for a conference championship,” said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood.
The six goals were the most the Cougars have scored all season. Appropriately, four of the goals came from seniors on Senior Day. Cloee Colohan, Rachel Manning, Niki Fernandes and Kyleigh Royall all scored in their final regular season games as Cougars. The other two goals came from forwards Ashley Hatch and Sarah Chambers.
“You always want to score on your senior day,” Colohan said. “It’s awesome. It couldn’t have been a better season.”
The Cougars have scored nine goals in the last two games, and such an offensive surge could not have come at a better time as the team prepares for the NCAA tournament.
The Cougars gathered together Monday to hear the announcement that they will be hosting the Wildcats on Friday. The Cougars will be looking to replicate and surpass the success the team enjoyed last year when they received a No. 1 seed and advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual champion North Carolina.
This season has been somewhat of an up-and-down season for the Cougars, who began the year ranked No. 6 nationally. After starting 5–0 and scoring 16 goals, the Cougars had trouble finding the back of the net, scoring only four goals over six games, going 2–3–1. Since, the Cougars have only lost at No. 8 Santa Clara 2–1.
The recent success of the BYU team has built momentum and confidence moving into a tournament where every single team is dangerous. The 2012 team pulled out a 1–0 win over Auburn then beat Marquette in penalty kicks 6–5. However, this year’s team is not intimidated by the challenge. The Cougars feel they can play with any team in the country and will lean on their experience from last year’s tournament and this year’s season to succeed.
“Every win is big for us. It builds our confidence,” said senior goalkeeper Erica Owens. “We know everyone is going to come out fighting this tournament season. We are going to have to want it more than everybody else does, and I think we do.”