Three different Cougar players scored as the BYU women’s soccer topped San Diego 3-2 on Friday night in their first game of West Coast Conference play.
San Diego struck first when Jacquelin Altschuld put a pretty shot on goal and put the Toreros up 1-1 in the 13th minute. Then, in the 16th minute, BYU forward Niki Fernandes scored her third goal of the season off a rebound and set things even at 1-1.
In the second half, the Toreros took back the lead in the 52nd minute, when San Diego’s Nikki Pappalardo sent a cross to Julia Sherwood, who then sent a one-timer in for a goal.
BYU freshman midfielder Elisabeth Phillips knotted things up for the Cougars at 2-2 later in the second half, when she sent a hard shot from 20 yards that deflected off a San Diego defender and found its way to the back of the net. The Cougars then wrapped scoring up when forward Ashley Hatch found her way through the defense and scored right before the 80th minute.
BYU has continually improved throughout the season. The Cougars started the season with high hopes, but problems with winning, maintaining possession and taking advantage of every opportunity initially slowed the team. Since their early three-game skid, the team has executed well and has strung together a six-game winning streak.
“San Diego is very dangerous, and they took care of their opportunities, especially on the chances they had,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “For us to be able to bounce back like we did, to continue to fight and continue to battle, we were looking really great tonight.”
The Cougars improved their record to 7-3-2 on the year and are now 1-0-0 in the West Coast Conference. BYU now shares the lead of the WCC with Pepperdine, Gonzaga, San Francisco and Portland. BYU started out the 2013 season 7-4-1 and seems to be on that same kind of path toward another conference championship.
BYU will be at home this week, and students have two opportunities to watch the Cougars at South Field. They will take on Portland Thursday, Oct. 9, and will then play host to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday, Oct. 11.