The BYU women’s soccer team will take on Stanford in the second round of the NCAA tournament in what looks to be the most difficult match BYU has played this season.
BYU is out for revenge as they suffered a 1-0 loss to Stanford earlier this season. The driving force for BYU’s upcoming match will have to come from its defense in order for the Cougars to take down No. 5 Stanford
BYU’s defense has been the star so far this season. Out of 20 games, 13 were shutouts and in five of them the opponent only scored one goal. BYU has only allowed nine goals in total to go behind the goalie this year.
“Our whole team has remarkable defense,” defender Stephanie Ringwood said. “It is more important in defending a goal than scoring a goal. We find that if we make our defense our top priority then we win games.”
Stanford comes off their first-round win against San Jose State 2-0. Stanford is currently one of the best teams in the nation with a fast offense and strong defense. They also consistently make it to the final four of the NCAA tournament. But that doesn’t scare the Cougars as they go into the match with one of the best keepers in the country.
“I love having Boaz in the goal,” Ringwood said. “I feel so comfortable with her. She is always directing us telling what she wants. She is so solid and we can always count on her to save the shots that we off.”
The Cougars back four have done an amazing job this season and have one of the lowest average of shots on goal. During their first game in the NCAA tournament they held UVU to only three shots on goal the entire match.
When BYU played Stanford earlier this year, Stanford was only able to get six shots on goal. Unfortunately, one of them was the game-winning goal ending the game at 1-0. BYU’s offense struggled against Stanford and was only able to squeeze one shot on goal the entire match. But Boaz has no doubt in her defense.
“They have been incredible,” Boaz said. “They have kept the ball out of danger all season and make it so I can sometimes rest a little.”
When the Cougars face Stanford on Thursday they will need to support each other if they plan to take down the NCAA soccer giant.
“I think our team commitment has paid off for us,” head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We are one of the teams with the fewest goals in the nation. It starts with our forwards and ends with our keeper in the back.”