The BYU women’s soccer team experienced an early loss in the NCAA tournament, and the season ended earlier than expected, leaving the team to look back on the highlights and positive points of the year. Here are some of those highlights and things to know as the team heads into its preparation for next season.
BYU went on a 13-game winning streak during the heart of its season after dropping three of its first six games. The key to winning those games was keeping the ball in front of the defense and out of the net. The Cougar defense did just that, allowing only seven goals to be scored during its unbeatable streak. The defense kept the ball out of the net, allowing it to apply pressure, pushing the ball up the field and facilitating scoring from a high-powered BYU attack. Key players like Avery Calton, Miranda Bailey, Annie Amos, Taylor Campbell Isom, Sarah Chambers and Rachel Bingham held offenses to a minimum and were instrumental in spurring their streak.
Strong goal keeping
During the season, BYU goal keepers Kat Snyder and Hannah Clark combined to allowed only 20 total goals on 161 shots. While splitting time at the beginning of the season, the two struggled to find their footing. But once things started coming together goals were few and far between for opposing teams. The goal keepers combined for 10 shutouts on the season and allowed an average of less than one goal scored against per game. Goal keeping will be a key to continued success for the Cougars, as Clark will be asked to step up to play as a starter next season.
Sarah Chambers played in every game last season as a forward. This season, she played in every single game but on the opposite side of the field as a defender. The move, which is uncommon but not unheard of in soccer, paid huge dividends for the BYU coaching staff as Chambers rounded out the stalwart defense. Chambers started in all 21 of the team’s games and found her place as a lock-down defender whom opponents could rarely get past. Her hustle and blazing speed set her apart from the field of other defenders on the team and put her clearly into the starting lineup. With Chambers returning next year, the Cougars already have a key piece to their starting defense.
Rachel Bingham had a strong freshman campaign, playing in 16 games for the Cougars. She showed great speed, athleticism and poise, all key components as starters. BYU will have to wait for another 18 months before seeing Bingham on the field again. She recently received her mission call to Guatemala.
Gaps in defense
The Cougar defense will be left with some big spaces to fill in the starting lineup, as Snyder and senior centre-back Amos move on from the team. Amos was dubbed “Iron Man,” as she played in every single minute of play for the team this season. Amos has been instrumental in moving the ball forward and helping clear the ball up the field. Losing Amos means BYU will have to find someone who can either slide over to play the center or use one of the incoming freshmen to fill the void alongside Taylor Campbell Isom.