South Field erupted into a commotion that could be heard from beyond the stadium as thousands of fans watched Elise Flake lead No. 5 BYU to a 2-0 win over then No. 12 Texas A&M on Sept. 12. Flake scored twice within three minutes midway into the game, giving the Cougars the advantage they needed to defeat the Aggies, their second win against a ranked team this season. Since then, the Cougars held opposing teams scoreless for seven games straight and now boast an undefeated record of 10-0.
Those were not the only essential goals that she’s scored during her career at BYU — in fact, she has totaled 29 goals as of Sept. 30. Flake has been a huge contributor on the field since her junior year as she stepped up to embrace her role as one of the team’s top goal scorers. Winning games is important to Flake, but she said her real dream was to simply play for the Cougars.
The Flake family bleeds blue. Flake grew up attending soccer camps and games at South Field. She said BYU is her dream school and she is now carrying on her family’s legacy. Her grandparents and parents went to BYU, and now her brother and sister are attending the university with her.
“I grew up just down the street as a big BYU fan,” Flake said. “I think I would’ve ended up here whether or not I got to play soccer; it is just a big plus that I had the opportunity.”
Despite interest from other colleges, in Flake’s eyes, nothing compares to playing for the BYU Cougars.
With no future athletic plans for Flake after BYU, she said she is trying to give it her all this season as she hopes to end her soccer career on a high note.
In the 2018 season, BYU soccer fell in the first round of the NCAA tournament in heartbreaking fashion to Texas Christian University. Instead of wallowing, hardly a week went by before the team met to discuss how they could improve for the next season.
“Ever since that game, it has pushed us to go harder, to be better this year,” Flake said.
A major focus of this past offseason has been team culture. Flake said the Cougars have worked to build team chemistry off the field over the past two years and have seen major improvement on the field during practice and games.
Flake mentioned that the team even spends a lot of time playing party games together to foster team relationships. The time spent together has created an environment of awareness and trust among teammates, which Flake said she believes has contributed heavily to the personal success that she has seen in her soccer career.
The added effort from the team has proven to be a catalyst for the current season. The Cougars currently rank No. 5 in the country in the United Soccer Coaches poll, starting off the season undefeated with a 10-0 record. All but two of those wins have been shutouts as the team has outscored their opponents 29-3, including a seven-game stretch where they didn’t allow a single goal. BYU has also outscored ranked opponents — No. 12 Texas A&M and No. 14 Kansas — 4-0.
Flake currently leads all BYU women’s soccer players with 9 goals this season. Flake and BYU are set to take on Santa Clara on Oct. 5 in Santa Clara, CA.