Mozingo leads No. 6 BYU to defeat Michigan State 3-1 and advance to the Elite Eight

Brecken Mozingo powered No. 6 BYU to take another win at South Field against Michigan State 3-1, setting themselves up for the elite eight of the NCAA tournament.

First half

The first half was a constant back and forth between the goals as both teams did all they could  to get the ball to the back of the net. Michigan State put the pressure on BYU throughout the entire match.

“They were a very tough opponent and it was a really high quality match tonight,” head coach Jen Rockwood said. “We were out of our comfort zone a little bit because of Michigan State’s pressure and their ability to move the ball.” 

Heading into the half, BYU was able to make 10 shots with three on goal in the first half but Michigan was right on their heels with 7 shots and two on goal. However, the score stood at 0-0.

Second half

Coming back after the half, it was apparent that both teams were hungry for a goal and it would be Michigan State’s Gabby Mueller that would send the ball to the bottom left of the goal, giving them a 1-0 lead in the 52th minute. 

With a goal behind them the Spartans took a breath while the Cougars prepared to level the score with Mozingo at the ready.

Just less than three minutes later, a penalty kick was awarded to BYU after a foul by Michigan State inside the box. Mozingo stepped up to the ball and fired it into the bottom right of the net, not only bringing the score up, 1-1, but also all of South Field to their feet.

“I think everyone still believed that we would find a way to score,” Rockwood said. “We’ve been scoring all year long, and we found lots of different ways to score, and certainly, when Breckon is on the field, there’s always a good chance that you’re going to score a goal.”

And with one goal under way, Mozingo was ready for another one.

In the 60th minute, after stealing the ball from a Spartan defender on the offensive third, Mozingo moved the ball down the pitch and fired off a shot that found the back of the net, giving The Cougars the lead, 2-1. 

But Mozingo and the rest of the Cougars were not done just yet.

Michigan State continued to try and level the score and in the 68th minute they were able to put more pressure on BYU through multiple scoring opportunities but were still unable to get past the Cougars.

In the 80th minute, a corner kick for BYU connected with Ellie Walbruch, who was able to head the ball between the goalkeeper and defender for the Cougars third goal of the night. The goal was assisted by Mozingo who was able to place the ball in the center of the box and right to Walbruch and into the goal, giving the Cougars a 3-1 lead over the Spartans.

“I just think we are so mentally strong and we know what this team is capable of,” Walbruch said. “So knowing what we’re capable of, know that we can put one right back in their face and that’s exactly what we did. And I think then from there, the momentum changed.”

Michigan State was able to bring a new kind of challenge to BYU but they still were not prepared for what Mozingo brought to the game.

The Cougars’ next match will be on Friday at 6 p.m. on South Field and can be viewed on ESPN+.

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