The Cougars have advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016. With a 0-0 score going into halftime, BYU adjusted to the Louisville Cardinals and finished with a 4-0 shutout.
Despite not scoring any goals in the first half, BYU was dominant throughout the 45 minutes. Neither team could get find the back of the net with each keeper ending the first half with one save each.
The closest either team got to a scoring a goal was a shot in the 39th minute by Louisville’s Brooklynn Rivers that nailed the top of the crossbar and rebounded out of the penalty box.
The Cougars outperformed the Cardinals in the second half with an explosive attack right from the beginning.
Senior forward Elise Flake put BYU on the scoreboard in the 62nd minute with a shot right down the middle off an assist from junior forward Cameron Tucker. This marked Flake’s 20th goal of the season and 40th career goal as a Cougar — the second BYU player to ever reach 20 goals in a season and the first since 1998.
“We sent a few more direct balls and that opened things up,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We were playing a lot quicker and with more confidence. When we got that first goal and Elise went down and we were able to put that away, I think that fed our confidence even more and reminded us to go to goal.”
BYU played off the energy from Flake’s goal, scoring another within the following minute. Flake drove the ball in from the left sideline and crossed it to WCC Player of the Year Mikayla Colohan who put the ball into the back of the net.
BYU goalkeeper Sabrina Davis had a beautiful one handed save in the 66th minute — one of two essential saves of the night for Davis.
Tucker gained BYU’s third goal off an assist by Rachel Lyman from the top of the pitch in the 68th minute.
Colohan finished off the night for the Cougars with a penalty kick that came off a Cardinal hand ball. The goal gave the junior midfielder her 16th tally of the season.
BYU’s next game is slated for at home. The game will give the Cougars the chance to advance to the Elite 8 in the tournament.
“We definitely love the crowd that we get here, it’s super fun to play in front of them,” Flake said. “It definitely helps our energy raise a ton.”
The Cougars will take on North Carolina State in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 6:00 p.m. at BYU’s South Field.