The BYU women’s soccer team returned to action at home on Saturday night and overcame a scoreless first half to keep an eight-game win streak alive and move to the top of the West Coast Conference, defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 2-0.
The Cougars came out playing some of the best defense they have all season, clearing everything out of the area and allowing only three shots during the entire first half. The BYU attack was held scoreless, with Gonzaga goalkeeper Christie Tombari having a great half and totaling six saves for a Bulldog defense that gave up 15 total shots through the first 45 minutes of play.
The aggressiveness of the BYU attack took over in the second half and threw the Cougars over the top. BYU got off 23 shots, while the Zags only managed nine for the entire game. That same offense has been key in the eight-game win streak for the Cougars.
“The great thing is that they are working together the four attacking players,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said after the game. “They have great chemistry right now; they are very dangerous.”
That attack converted in the 60th minute, when Ashley Hatch sent a perfect ball across the box to midfielder Elena Medeiros, who put the ball cleanly out of reach of the Gonzaga keeper and into the goal, putting BYU up 1-0. The action continued moments later in the 63rd minute, as the Cougars capitalized on a counter attack and scored the second goal of the game when Niki Fernandes sent a sweet pass to a streaking Michele Murphy, who put the ball swiftly into the back of the net.
Gonzaga had not lost a West Coast Conference match all season, coming into Provo 3-0-0 in the conference after shutting out San Diego on Thursday night. The Bulldogs had limited their opponents to an average of only one goal per game through the season but could not stop a great overall team effort from the Cougars.
“It’s a huge win for us. We knew Gonzaga coming in; both of us were undefeated, so it was a huge game for us,” Medeiros said. “I think it’s definitely helped build our confidence, but we always have to make sure we keep working harder and getting better every day.”
BYU now sits alone atop the West Coast Conference rankings with a record of 3-0-0 in conference play. The Cougars head out on the road next week as they take on Loyola Marymount University next Saturday in Los Angeles.