Families packed the stands Saturday night at the women’s soccer game to watch the BYU Cougars beat the UNLV Rebels 2-0.
The first half of the game progressed with equal pressure from both sides, but the Cougars maintained control of the ball. The team played a pretty passing game the first half as they tried to get past the UNLV defensive line, but the danger was missing from their attacks head coach Jennifer Rockwood said.
“We’ve just gotta be more anxious to score. It’s one thing to just pass the ball around, but we’ve got to be dangerous,” Rockwood said. “All of our girls did a better job in the second half of being more dangerous and going toward the goal.”
Coach Rockwood’s half-time pep talk pumped the team up and prepared them to bring more pressure to the game in the second half said forward Michele Murphy Vasconcelos.
The Cougars played a much more energized second half and scored the first goal of the night in the opening seconds. Sophomore forward Nadia Gomes tapped the ball to Vasconcelos who then nailed the ball into the back of the net after a cross from the corner of the field by right wing Ashley Hatch.
“It felt really good to score that goal,” Vasconcelos said. “In my head I was just like, ‘I got this. I got this.’ I mean there was only one defender, so I was just like, ‘Let me have it Nadia!'”
Vasconcelos has started all seven games of this season and has been a solid contributor to the Cougar offensive line.
The Cougars second goal of the night came from defender Taylor Isom. All week, the team has been practicing corner kicks where the defenders push forward Isom said. It’s a new technique she said she was eager to try this game.
Forward Madie Lyons took the corner kick for the Cougars and crossed the ball in front of the net where Isom was waiting. She headed it hard past UNLV keeper Jordan Sallee and into the goal making the score 2-0.
Isom red-shirted last year, making this was her first career goal for BYU and she said it was awesome.
“It was a surreal experience. Madie played an awesome ball and it was going to go in, whether it was going off my foot, my shoulder, my head it was going in because it was such a beautiful ball,” Isom said. “I just wanted it so bad that nobody was going to stop me and because we’ve been practicing it I felt confident. I was ready.”
The Cougars have used the same starting line up for all seven games this season and the confidence they bring to the field is dominating and assertive.
The BYU women’s soccer team will continue to defend their 11-home-game winning streak Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. against Oregon State.