BYU women’s soccer drops conference opener against San Diego

Savannah Hopkinson
Alyssa Jefferson clears the ball during the Cougars’ game against Utah on Sept. 8, 2017. (Savannah Hopkinson)

The BYU women’s soccer team lost its first conference game of the season, falling 2-1 against San Diego at home on Sept. 29.

The Cougars were hoping to win their third straight match at home but were unable to answer two early goals by San Diego. Their overall record now stands at 3-5-3.

The first of the Toreros’ goals came in only the fifth minute of play, when San Diego forward Kelsi Dantu angled a header into the net off a well-placed corner kick.

Courtney Coate followed that up with an unassisted goal to put San Diego up 2-0 in the 23rd minute.

BYU’s only goal came on a penalty kick after a handball was whistled against San Diego in the 79th minute. Elise Flake snuck it past the Torero keeper for her third goal of the season.

BYU had no trouble controlling the ball, outshooting their opponents 31-6, but San Diego made the most out of those few chances and refused to let up on defense.

“I thought we played our best game of the season,” said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood.

Rockwood also gave credit to the San Diego defense — specifically goalkeeper Amber Michel, who made several spectacular saves to preserve their lead.

Flake echoed Rockwood’s feelings about the Cougars’ performance.

“I thought we played one of the best games as a team,” Flake said. “We’re just going to build on that.”

This season, BYU has been struggling to play up to the level of expectation previous squads have set. Coming into the season the Cougars were looking to win their sixth-straight WCC championship.

They still are, according to some of the players, but a loss to a team coming into the match 2-8 does raise some questions about whether BYU will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.

BYU continues conference play Oct. 7, when they will host Saint Mary’s at South Field. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv and ESPN 960 AM.

Saint Mary’s is 5-6 on the season after winning its conference opener against Portland. BYU has beaten the Gaels six times since 2002 and has never lost, holding a 6-0-1 edge in the all-time series.

The Cougars will play their fifth straight home game the following week when they host Pacific on Oct. 12.

Both matches are set to begin at 7 p.m. MDT. The game against Pacific will be broadcast on as well as ESPN 960 AM.

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