Five things to know for BYU soccer vs. Gonzaga

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BYU continued to roll on Thursday night, stretching its unbeaten streak to seven games. The team looks to continue moving up the ranks of the West Coast Conference on Saturday when Gonzaga comes to South Field.  Here are the five things to watch for as BYU takes on the Bulldogs Saturday night.

1. Gonzaga will be a true test for BYU

The Cougars are on a hot streak but will be tested by a tough Gonzaga team. Gonzaga sits atop the WCC as of right now with nine points, having played one more game than unbeaten conference foes BYU and Pepperdine. The Bulldogs come into the match having won five of their last six games, with the one loss coming in an overtime thriller against Southern Methodist University. Gonzaga’s overall record is 8-5-0 and is off to its first 3-0-0 start ever in conference play. This will be the first true test for the Cougars in the West Coast Conference.

Number 33 Ashley Hatch celebrating scoring all three goals for Thursday night's win (Universe Photo).
Number 33 Ashley Hatch celebrates scoring all three goals for Thursday night’s win. (Bryan Pearson)

2. BYU has never lost a game to Gonzaga

BYU’s confidence is sky high, coming off another home win at South Field Thursday night. The Cougars will look to keep that seven-game win streak alive against a team to which they have never lost. BYU is 6-0-0 all time against Gonzaga. Hard work and hustle on both sides of the field will be the keys for the Cougars to come out with a victory.

3. The Cougars’ defense has been unbreakable as of late

BYU’s defensive unit has been playing at a peak level during the win streak, allowing only four goals total through the seven games.  Kat Snyder also gained her fourth shutout this season in the win against Portland. BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood spoke highly of the defense after the win on Thursday.

“It was a great overall defensive effort,” Rockwood said. “Portland’s a very talented team, and they like to move the ball. We just asked the girls to make them uncomfortable by pressing them as much as we could, and our commitment to winning 50/50 balls was big-time as well.”

4. Just like BYU, the Bulldogs like to get out and score

While BYU has been racking up the goals, Gonzaga has been doing the same. The Cougars have tallied 27 goals so far this season, and the Bulldogs have put 26 of their own in the back of the net. Tori Lee and Karley Baggerly lead the Gonzaga scoring punch with four goals each on the season. Freshman Britany Doan is also a threat upfront with three goals of her own. If BYU wants to stop Gonzaga’s scoring attack, it will need strong play from the defensive unit and will need big stops from Snyder.

5. Saturday is the Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Game

The game Saturday starts at 7 p.m. Fans should remember to dress in pink when getting ready for the match, noting that this will be the team’s Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Game. The first 200 fans to South Field will get free shades to rock during the game. The matchup will also be played live on BYUtv.

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