SPOKANE, Wash. – A second half goal from Nadia Gomes gave No. 6 BYU women’s soccer a 1-0 away victory over Gonzaga on Thursday.
The Cougars (9-1-1, 1-0-0) found goal in the 70th minute to come away with a road win to begin West Coast Conference play against the Bulldogs (1-6-4, 0-1-0).
Gomes first touched the ball inside midfield and dribbled to the top of the box finding Michele Murphy Vasconcelos just outside the area. Vasconcelos played back to Gomes freeing her from the two center backs and springing her for an open look on goal. Gomes put it on the left side past Gonzaga’s goalkeeper for the 1-0 lead.
The goal was Gomes’ third of the year and it was Vasconcelos’ third assist of the year. Vasconcelos has assisted on the last three consecutive goals for the Cougars.
"Every single game is for a conference championship," BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "Gonzaga did a great job of making us play back to goal. At half, I challenged them that everyone has to be responsible for making something happen and they came out with more emotion."
BYU goalkeeper Rachel Boaz made four saves in goal and the Cougar defense recorded its eighth shutout of the season.
In the first half, BYU put three shots on goal and for the game the Cougars took 18 shots total. Nine of them were on goal. Bizzy Phillips led the team with six shots from her central midfield spot, while Vasconcelos found five opportunities, Elena Medeiros three, Gomes two and Jocelyn Loomis two.
BYU forward Ashley Hatch had her consecutive starts streak broken as she will miss the next month with a small knee fracture. Hatch had played every game of her BYU career. The last time Hatch didn't start for the Cougars was the final game of 2012 against North Carolina.
In other starting lineup changes, Sarah Chambers Gardner made her first start of the season after starting each game last year. Madie Lyons made her first career start and played 63 minutes for the Cougars in replacing Hatch.
BYU continues on the road facing Portland on Saturday at 7 p.m. PDT. The game can be seen on TheW.tv and heard on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, ESPN 960 AM, BYU Radio and Sirius XM 143.
No. 6 Cougars begin WCC play at Gonzaga, Portland
PROVO, Utah – No. 6 BYU women’s soccer begins its title defense of the past three West Coast Conference championships with a two-game road trip to the Pacific Northwest.
The Cougars (8-1-1) open WCC play against Gonzaga (1-5-4) on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. PDT. The game can be seen on TheW.tv and will be broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, ESPN 960 AM, BYU Radio and on Sirius XM 143.
On Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. PDT, BYU faces Portland (4-6-0) at Merlo Field. The game will also be seen on TheW.tv and can be heard on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, ESPN 960 AM, BYU Radio and Sirius XM 143.
BYU comes off a week where they tied Cal Poly 1-1 on the road before beating Long Beach State 2-1 on Saturday to close out the nonconference schedule. Michele Murphy Vasconcelos was named WCC Player of the Week for her two assists against the 49ers.
To this point of the season, BYU’s defense is one of the top defenses in the nation. The Cougars are second in save percentage, third in goals against average and seventh in shutout percentage. The offense has been productive as well. BYU is ninth in the nation in shots and Hermann Trophy candidate Ashley Hatch leads the nation in shots. Overall, the 8-1-1 record is the 13th highest winning percentage in the nation to go along with several top 10 rankings and holding on to the No. 4 spot in the RPI.
Gonzaga has only beat Cal State Bakersfield so far this season and has found three of its ties at home. The Bulldogs did draw with Cal State Fullerton, Utah State and Washington over the past few weeks. They lost to Memphis in overtime on Saturday. Gonzaga has been outscored 7-1 in the first half this season, but has still found a way to get six games into overtime.
Portland has won two games in a row after starting the season 1-4-0. The Pilots have beat Marquette, UC Irvine, Washington State and Denver, while they lost to major conference teams Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oregon State.