BYU women’s soccer continued its winning streak Saturday and pushed its win total to eight victories in a row. As West Coast Conference play continues, the Cougars will be increasingly tested. This week the Cougars travel to Los Angeles to take on Loyola Marymount. Here are the five things to be looking for this Saturday night.
- LMU will not just roll over and lose to the Cougars
BYU may be on an eight-game win streak, but the Lions of LMU will not just take a loss to one of the top teams in the conference. LMU is 1-2-1 in the conference, and they are hungry for a big conference win. Taking out BYU would be a huge win for the Lions and would likely jump start a rise in the WCC rankings. The Lions recently lost to San Francisco and Santa Clara, so look for a strong bounce back as they take on BYU.
- The Lions are an excellent home team
Loyola Marymount is 5-2-0 at home on Sullivan Field in Los Angeles. Its home record has been bolstered by wins against New Mexico State, Cal Fullerton and Cal State Northridge. The Lions have also played into an overtime draw against conference foe Saint Mary’s. When BYU comes to town, the Lions will be well prepared to take on the strong attack and put a stop to BYU’s win streak on their own turf.
- The BYU attack is hitting its stride at the right time
The Cougar attack is hitting full stride as BYU moves into the thick of conference competition. The BYU attacking players have totalled 26 goals through the season and are moving the ball well and meshing as a unit.
“The great thing is that they are working together, the four attacking players,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “They have great chemistry right now. They are very dangerous.”
On the season, Ashley Hatch has 11 goals and five assists; Michele Murphy has three goals and one assist; Niki Fernandes has three goals and four assists; Elena Medeiros has four goals and four assists; Marissa Nimmer has three goals and three assists; and Elisabeth Phillips has two goals and two assists. Passing and scoring have become a mainstay in the Cougar attack and will need to continue for them through conference play, where they have already totalled eight goals through three games.
- The Cougar defense continues to improve
At the start of the season, BYU’s defense had a hard time finding itself. The goalkeeper position was up in the air with Hillary Kaufusi’s injury, but Kat Snyder has found a way to bolster the defense, recording her fourth solo shutout of the season Saturday against Gonzaga. That brings the total to seven team shutouts on the season. Opponents are averaging less than one goal (.86) per game against the Cougars. The BYU defense continues to play well and improve with defenders like Annie Amos, Sarah Chambers, Taylor Campbell Isom, Miranda Bailey and Avery Calton, with newcomer Rachel Bingham seeing significant playing time as well.
- LMU is not scared of an overtime game
The Lions have pushed their way into four overtime games during the season. They will not shy away from that as they look to put a stop to BYU’s win streak. All four of those overtime games ended up going into two extra periods, and two of those resulted in a win for LMU. The Lions drew on the other two double overtime games. If they need to, LMU would love to play into a tie game to put a stop to the Cougars’ run up the ladder of the West Coast Conference rankings.
The action starts this Saturday at 6 p.m. (MDT). For those who want to follow the match live, it will be broadcast on lmulions.com.