The BYU women’s soccer team lost 2-1 to No. 13 Pepperdine on Oct. 19 at South Field.
The Cougars fell to 5-6-3 and are now fourth in the West Coast Conference with a 2-2 record.
Coming into the match, Pepperdine had not yielded a goal in conference play, going undefeated in four WCC matches and outscoring conference opponents 11-0.
The Cougars broke that shutout streak early with an impressive 14th-minute goal by Madie Lyons Mathews. Mathews leads the team in goals scored, with this one being her sixth of the season.
Mathews leads the team in goals scored, with this one being her sixth of the season.
It wouldn’t take long for the Waves to answer, scoring an equalizer just five minutes later. The 19th-minute goal came after a moment hesitation with both teams seeming to expect a foul to be called after a Pepperdine player was tripped up. No call came and the official signaled to play on. It was then that Pepperdine middle fielder Joelle Anderson fired a rocket into the back of the net from about 30 yards out.
Pepperdine would score again in the 23rd minute to go up 2-1 and that is where the score would stay for the rest of the match.
The Cougars knew a win was crucial if they hoped to repeat as WCC champions for the sixth straight time. The team did not seem intimidated by an impressive Pepperdine squad and attacked by playing with physicality.
The Cougars were able to control the ball well but ultimately failed to capitalize on a few crucial scoring opportunities.
“We’ve just been unlucky,” said coach Jennifer Rockwood. “I thought we did what we needed to do, the girls played hard. I’m really proud of this team.”
Rockwood went on to say she believes this team has played as well as any she has coached, even if it has not been reflected in the win column.
No WCC team has suffered two or more conference losses and gone on to win the conference championship. That being said the Cougars have not yet been eliminated from contention. Wins in their five remaining conference matches, as well as some losses from Pepperdine and San Diego, could help BYU find a way to its sixth straight conference title.
The Cougars are still technically alive in the championship race.
It will be a challenging path, however, as BYU would need to win its five remaining conference matches and have Pepperdine (5-0 WCC) and San Diego (4-0 WCC) drop games to have a chance at a sixth-straight conference title.
The Cougars will host LMU for their final home game of the season at South Field Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. The match will be streamed live on theW.tv and can be heard on Sirius XM 143 or ESPN 960 AM.
BYU will close out the season with a four-game road trip.