The BYU women’s soccer team took down Pacific in a 2-0 victory on Thursday, Oct. 12, at South Field.
The Cougars improved to 5-5-3 on the season and are now 2-1 in WCC play.
BYU wasted little time against the Tigers. Madie Lyons Mathews scored the Cougar’s first goal at the 1:26 mark, after the Pacific keeper was drawn away.
The goal was one of the quickest for the Cougars this season. For Mathews, it was her third goal in the last two matches. She now leads the team with five goals on the season.
“We came out strong right from the beginning,” said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. “We’re just playing really solid, really smart right now.”
The Cougars’ next goal came, which came in the 43rd minute, was a lesson in awareness for the Tigers.
Taking a free kick following a foul, Bizzy Bowen dropped a chip shot into the net from about 20 yards out while most of the Pacific team was still setting up.
It was Bowen’s third goal of the season.
Pacific never really threatened on offense with BYU controlling the ball for most of the match. The deficit could have been bigger had a few shots from the Cougars been a bit lower.
Rockwood is pleased with the teams’ improved performance since conference play began. Despite dropping the opener against San Diego, the coach and players have expressed an increased confidence.
“Our team needed to figure out our identity,” Bowen said. “When conference came around…our mindset changed. This team has figured out how we want to play.”
Bowen also said getting back to the basics was key after their slow start to the season.
Things are looking up for the Cougars, whose scoring has exploded over the last several matches. In the first ten games of the season, BYU scored just seven goals; in the last four matches since then, they have scored 11.
Mathews has been a major part of that scoring streak. Her five goals this season lead the team and puts her career tally at ten, a total only 33 other BYU players have reached since 1995.
She downplayed her scoring success after the win.
“I definitely credit all my teammates,” Mathews said. “I’m just getting lucky in the right spots, with my teammates setting up perfect balls.”
Coach Rockwood added she is confident in the team’s ability to continue to play well in its remaining conference matches.
The Cougars were set to travel to the Bay Area to take on San Fransisco on Saturday, Oct. 14, but the game has been rescheduled for Nov. 2 due to poor air quality caused by wildfires that are currently burning across Northern California.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s forecast shows unhealthy levels of pollution in the air through Saturday.
BYU’s sights are now set on a showdown with No. 15 Pepperdine on Oct. 19 at South Field.
The Waves have won five straight and are 3-0 in WCC play. A win will be crucial if the Cougars hope to claim a sixth-straight WCC title.
Two days later, BYU will host its final home game of the season, facing LMU on Oct. 21.
The upcoming match against Pepperdine will be broadcast live on BYUtv and can be heard on ESPN 960 AM or Sirius XM 143. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MDT.