Women’s soccer season in review

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Offense

High-intensity, high-scoring and powerful are all accurate descriptions of the offense of the 2014 BYU women’s soccer team. The Cougars scored an impressive 47 goals this season in 21 games. They also averaged 2.24 goals scored and 19.3 shots per game and led the conference in goals scored.

Sophomore Ashley Hatch led the Cougars this season in goals scored, with 18. She also had six assists on the season. Michelle Murphy came up second in scoring with six goals, as well as six assists. Elena Medeiros and Niki Fernandes both netted five goals this season and had an impressive seven assists each. Marissa Nimmer ended the season with four goals and five assists.

The freshman class was a huge bonus to the Cougars’ already strong offense. Three true freshmen scored goals this season. Nadia Gomes and Bizzy Phillips both ended the season with three goals each and three and two assists, respectively; Madi Lyons netted two goals and one assist. Phillips started all season for the Cougars at midfield, while Gomes and Lyons frequently came off the bench for the Cougars. Gomes played in all 21 games, and Lyons played in 19. Several other freshmen saw playing time as well this season.

Jaiden Thornock was the last Cougar to score this season, ending the season with one goal and two assists. The Cougars had a total of 41 assists this season. The Cougars were 4-for-4 on penalty kicks and had 118 corner kicks during the season.

Hatch moved into fourth place on BYU’s all-time record of games with multiple goals scored. Hatch also recorded a hat trick during the season, BYU’s first hat trick since 2005 and the 17th in Cougar history.

Hatch was named West Coast Conference Co-Player of the year and is also a finalist for the 2014 Soccer News Net College Boot award, an award given to the women’s college soccer player of the year.

The Cougars ended the season with a 13-5-3 record and the outright WCC championship. During the season, the Cougars had an 11-game winning streak and a 13-game unbeaten streak.

Despite losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Cougar offense had a successful season and will return most of its starting offensive players next season.

Defense

The Cougar defense allowed only seven goals to be scored during its 13-game unbeaten 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.

During the season, BYU goal keepers Kat Snyder and Hannah Clark combined to allow 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. She 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.

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.

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