BYU men’s soccer played their first fall home game in over 15 years and defeated rival Utah 3-1.
The Utes got the early edge with a goal from Landon Carlson in the eighth minute. The Cougars lost the ball in their defensive half and Carlson capitalized, taking the ball up the side of the field and crossing one into the far side of the net, just out of goalkeeper Austin Bagley’s reach.
Christian Bain responded quickly for the Cougars, however, sending a left-footed shot into the back of the net in the 10th minute.
The Cougars had several chances to take the lead throughout the remainder of the half but just couldn’t find the back of the net.
Cameron McLaughlin, the lone goalscorer in Friday’s tie at Utah State, was having particular trouble.
He took four shots in the first half, including a penalty kick in the 14th minute, and missed all of them.
BYU led the Utes in shots 15-3, but neither team could find another goal in the first half and entered the locker room tied 1-1.
Jacob Ence proved to be the difference for the Cougars in the second half, however, netting two goals in the 57th and 65th minutes.
“At halftime coach (Brandon) Gilliam gave us a good pump up to reorganize ourselves into a better attack and find the back of the net,” said Ence. “We did not want to walk away with a draw tonight.”
He almost scored a third goal later in the game, but took one too many touches and ended up sending the ball out of bounds.
The Cougars ended the night with 25 shots to Utah’s eight, acting as the clear aggressors and dominant team the majority of the match.
“We didn’t create more chances tonight, we just got a few put away tonight that we didn’t put away on Friday,” Gilliam said. “Improvement, but not good enough.”
Ence echoed his coach’s desire for an even higher level of play.
“We have to come into each game with the mentality of scoring three to four goals,” he said. “We have to take the momentum from the goals we had tonight, and then finish more of the chances that we are given.”
The Cougars will hit the road for their next match, playing Madison Dragons S.C. in Rexburg, Idaho, on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
Their next home game is Oct. 4 against UVU.