BYU women’s soccer clinches semifinal berth in Big 12 tournament with 6-0 win

No. 2-seeded BYU women’s soccer clinched a berth to the semifinals of the Big 12 Conference Tournament with a convincing 6-0 win over Oklahoma in Austin Monday night. 

The Cougars will face UCF in the semifinal on Wednesday for a chance to compete in the Conference Championship this Saturday against the winner of Texas vs Texas Tech. 

In their first conference tournament match since the Mountain West days, the Cougars throttled the No. 10-seeded Sooners with six goals from five different scorers, including a brace from senior Bella Folino and a clean sheet performance from freshman goalkeeper Lynette Hernaez. 

This 2023 BYU team has established itself over the season as a high-scoring, dominant side, recording six shutout victories and six matches with four or more goals prior to tonight.

And the quarterfinal against the Sooners was no different.

In typical Jennifer Rockwood style, the Cougars waited back and lulled Oklahoma into the match, creating a sense of false hope, before pouncing on the helpless Sooners. 

The strategy, similar to that of thumb wars or slowly boiling a frog in a pot of water, paid off perfectly for Rockwood, who won her 450th game at the helm, good for 12th all-time in Division 1. 

That sense of false hope for Oklahoma was high at half time. The Sooners had their chances, hitting the woodwork twice in the opening 45, and trailed by just one at the half thanks to Bella Folino’s ninth minute goal from a tight angle after an Ellie Boren assist. 

The second half, however, saw the Cougars’ high-octane offense turn up the heat on a rather cold and balmy night in Austin. 

Allie Fryer connected on a one-timer from Boren just five minutes into the second half, and Folino capitalized on a defensive mistake in the 61st to put the Cougars up three. 

Ironically, the match which was originally scheduled to be played in Round Rock, but was changed due to severe weather and poor field conditions, saw the Cougars burst open the floodgates. 

Olivia Wade Katoa collapsed on the end of a well-taken corner for BYU’s fourth, Erin Bailey scored her tied-for-team-leading 10th goal in the 83rd, and Ellie Walbruch added the finishing touches in the 89th to cap off the firework display. 

The Cougars now have seven players with five or more goals this season, and await the Knights, who BYU beat 3-2 at Smith Field in the final home game of the regular season. 

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