The 2020 women’s soccer fall championship welcomes news for the BYU women’s soccer team, which has been practicing at a high level despite the postponement of the fall season.
“I’ve been waiting for the day to get to play again,” said Mikayla Colohan, the senior All-American and captain of the team. “It’s just weird not traveling on the weekends and having a big game to look forward to every week.”
The global pandemic has caused some adjustments to be made to the spring championship, such as only 48 teams being permitted in the bracket as opposed to the standard 64 teams. The number of preliminary-round sites will also be reduced to support the health and safety of all involved.
Despite changes, the global pandemic hasn’t slowed the players down. Following the Cougars’ success last year, ending in a tough loss in the Elite Eight to first-ranked Stanford, the team is carrying the momentum forward in this long offseason.
“Day-to-day practice feels pretty much the same,” Colohan said. “We just want everything to be as normal as possible, stick to what we typically do, train as normal and prepare for what we can.”
The team got together on Sept. 12 at South Field for a “blue vs. black scrimmage” to put some of its practice into action. Colohan dominated the game with a hat trick and two assists to lead the blue team to a 5-2 victory.
“It was really exciting to see certain individual players, and the team collectively, rise to the occasion and play at a high level,” Colohan said.
Colohan has high hopes for the upcoming season and mentioned incoming freshman like Tara Warner and Abbie Kotter as players to look out for in 2021. She also spoke highly of Olivia Wade, who recently returned from her mission and played in the scrimmage.
“She played such a big role on our team before her mission, so it’s exciting to have her back,” Colohan said. “She’s starting to get back into things and looking really good.”
Both Kotter and Wade scored goals off passes from Colohan to put the blue team up 2-0 early on. Colohan then went off for two more goals in the first half and completed her hat trick in the 73rd minute for the final goal of the game.
Daviana Vaka and Grace Johnson were both out with knee injuries, so the team called up alumnus Danika Serassio to play in the scrimmage. Serassio started in every game for the Cougars last season before graduating.
“She was a big part of our team last year, so it kind of felt like old times having her back out there,” Colohan said.
The Cougars will continue to practice and prepare for competitive play as the NCAA makes final decisions regarding the 2021 season.