No. 6 BYU wins back-and-forth thriller over No. 14 Texas

No. 6 BYU women’s soccer won a back-and-forth Big 12 thriller Monday night in Austin over No. 14 Texas, coming back from a first-half goal deficit to win 3-2. 

The Cougars improved to 9-1-1 on the season and 2-0-1 in conference play. 

“It was an exciting match against Texas tonight,” coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We got off to a little bit of a slow start, which you can’t do against a team like Texas, who is so dangerous and loves to attack like we do. It was a great matchup, but I thought our girls fought really hard and found a way. Erin Bailey with a phenomenal game-winner and we were able to put the game away at the end.”

The Cougars trailed early after conceding in the fifth minute, when Texas’ Lexi Missimo scored in the bottom right corner to beat Lynette Hernaez. 

It wasn’t until just minutes before the stroke of halftime that BYU would find their equalizer. In the 43rd minute Olivia Smith Griffitts attacked the right wing, cutting into the 18-yard-box. Ellie Walbruch ran towards the near post, collecting a pass at her feet and sharply turning towards goal before rocketing a low shot to the far corner to tie the match 1-1. 

For just the second time this season, the Cougars came out of the locker room at half all tied up searching for a go-ahead goal. 

In the 51st minute Olvia Wade Katoa seemed determined to put the Cougars up after BYU was awarded a penalty kick, but Texas ‘keeper Mia Justus came up with the stop denying BYU the lead. 

It wasn’t long, however, before Katoa got another opportunity to deliver for BYU.

In the 62nd minute Brecken Mozingo delivered a perfectly placed one-bounce free kick for Katoa to run on to and volley past the keeper, putting the Cougars ip 2-1. 

Texas had an answer of their own just four minutes later, as Missimo scored her second goal of the game and nation-leading 14th of the season.

For more than 15 minutes the two teams exchanged chances on goal, both searching for an all-important third goal to take a late lead. 

Finally, in the 84th, a nifty combination play set up BYU for the deciding goal.

From the Texas end line, Tara Warner whipped in a cross to the penalty mark, where the pass was met by Erin Bailey who smashed a shot off the inside of the post and past the keeper for an electric game winner. 

Bailey’s game winner was her seventh on the season, making her the highest goalscorer on the team. 

The Cougars sent a barrage of shots on goal throughout the contest, 23 in total and 12 on target, forcing Texas ‘keeper Mia Justus to make a season-high nine saves. 

BYU keeper Lynette Hernaez and the Cougars’ backline held the No. 1 scoring team in the nation in check, allowing just one goal from four shots on target. 

The Cougars return to their fortress at Smith Field on Thursday to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats, with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. MT. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN+. 

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