UC Irvine scored a goal with 30 seconds left to upset the No. 6 BYU women’s soccer team Saturday night at South Field.
Irvine senior forward Natalia Ledezma snuck the game-winning goal past BYU goalkeeper Erica Owens. Owens came out of goal, but Zoya Farzaneh passed the ball to Ledezma who was able to get the shot off. The Cougars scrambled in the final seconds for a scoring chance but came up short to suffer their first loss of the season.
“We just need to pick our heads up and play a little bit better,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We’re just not playing with as much confidence as I think we should be, so we have to give a lot of credit to Irvine. They took us out of a lot of the rhythm that we usually can get, especially at home on offense.”
Both BYU (4-1-1) and UC Irvine (4-3-0) finished with eight shots a piece, below the Cougars’ season average of 18. Cloee Colohan attempted three free kicks in the game with one that barely missed the upper-right corner with 10 minutes left before the half.
BYU played solid defense in the first period, pressuring the ball to stay on the defensive end of the field. BYU managed five shots in the first period alone, but could not come up with a goal.
The game’s attendance of 4,672 fans marked the fifth largest in BYU history and kept the team motivated through all 90 minutes. With three minutes to go before the half, the Cougars pushed forward. Sarah Chambers took a shot that was saved at the left post leaving both teams scoreless at halftime.
BYU goalie Erica Owens was dominant in the air against UCI. Owens had three saves but cut off several crosses into the box. She went down hard in the 53rd minute when Ledezma and her collided going for a ball. Ledezma was carded on the play.
BYU will remain at home this week to host Oklahoma on Thursday at 7 p.m. on South Field.
Provo, Utah - The No. 6 ranked BYU women's soccer team returns to the road Thursday Sep. 12 to take on Oregon in Eugene before the Cougars host UC Irvine on Saturday night Sep. 14 at 7 p.m. at South Field.
BYU (4-0-0) defeated in-state rival Utah 1-0 on Friday night in front of a record crowd at South Field. Ashley Hatch scored on a penalty kick in the 88th minute to give the Cougars the victory. Hatch was named West Coast Conference Player of the Week for Sep. 9.
Oregon and UC Irvine played each other on Sunday afternoon. The Anteaters (3-3-0) won 2-1 after withstanding a last minute rally by the Ducks (2-4-0). Irvine scored in the third and 75th minutes, while Oregon's goal came in the 88th.
Oregon was picked to finish 11th in the Pac-12 under new head coach Kat Mertz. Last year, BYU traveled to Oregon and won 1-0.
UC Irvine was picked to finish second in the Big West this season behind Cal State Fullerton. The Cougars needed overtime to defeat Irvine 3-2 last season.
Saturday is Family Night at South Field. Family passes are $15. Pre-game activities include coloring, face painting and family photos on the field. During halftime, families can participate in soccer drills and win prizes.