BYU women’s soccer remains undefeated in WCC play

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BYU midfielder Bizzy Phillips heads the ball against SDU on Oct. 9. Phillips’ speed and control helped the Cougars in their  2-0 over Pacific on Oct. 17. (Natalie Blothwell)

The No. 5 BYU women’s soccer team (12-1-1, 4-0-0) extended its home winning streak to 14 straight games with a 2-0 win over Pacific University (2-10-1, 1-4-0) despite the field’s wet and slippery conditions. The Cougars remain undefeated in the WCC.

BYU got on the scoreboard twice early in the first half and were able to stay composed throughout all 90 minutes.

“We’re trying to score as early as we can, then hopefully getting off to a great start and putting a lot of pressure on our opponents right from the whistle,” head coach Jennifer Rockwood said.

Forward Nadia Gomes gave BYU a 1-0 lead with a quick goal in the sixth minute. Gomes took a couple of touches and then shot the ball to the lower left corner after receiving the ball from fellow forward Madie Lyons.

Michele Murphy Vasconcelos, who has switched from playing forward to midfielder in the last few games, was in the right place at the right time 18 minutes later at the top of the penalty box. A ricochet of shots and blocks between both teams led to Vasconcelos’ second goal of the season, putting the Cougars up 2-0.

“The ball just popped out, I took a touch and then tried to bend it upper-90, the right side,” Vasconcelos said.

The Cougars maintained possession most of the game and dominated offensively, outshooting the Tigers 34-4. Twelve of those 34 shots were on frame. BYU has yet to score more than two goals in one game this season.

Both the players and coaches are disappointed in the Cougars’ inability to finish their shots and put the ball in the back of the net. Rockwood said the team has been focusing on finishing but it is still not happening.

“It’s a mental toughness and focus that has to happen,” Rockwood said. “We have the skills, we do it in training every day and it’s got to carry over when the pressure’s on and it counts the most.”

Vasconcelos said the team kept its energy level up and played composed in the second half, but they were still disappointed about inefficiency.

“We have so many shots that we need to put more away,” Vasconcelos said. “That’s our goal for next game.”

Rockwood said Vasconcelos, Elena Medeiros and Bizzy Phillips were key players for the win.

“The three of them just are so quick and control the flow of the game so well,” Rockwood said. “I really thought those guys did a great job tonight.”

Seventeen BYU players saw action tonight, including several younger players who came in off the bench.

Starting goalkeeper Rachel Boaz had two saves in 76 minutes of play and was substituted by sophomore Hannah Clark. Boaz exited the field to a chorus of cheers from the fans. She ranks first in the nation with a .933 save percentage.

The team hasn’t allowed a goal at home yet this season or even in last seven homes games, dating back to last season.

The game’s attendance of 3,255 broke last season’s total fan attendance record and BYU continues to lead the NCAA in average attendance with 4,208. If the Cougars advance into the second round of the NCAA tournament, they will likely break BYU’s total fan attendance record of 48,858 fans (2012) and could potentially hit 50,000 fans.

BYU will head on a two-game road trip next week, playing at San Francisco on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. PDT and Santa Clara on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. PDT. Both games can be streamed on the WCC’s website TheW.tv. The game against San Francisco will also be broadcast on Cougar IMG Sports Network, ESPN 960 AM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.

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