PROVO, Utah—In a hard fought battle, the BYU women’s soccer team (7-4-2) fell to an undefeated and nationally ranked Pepperdine (10-0-4), 1-0, Saturday on South Field.
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“I was really pleased with the way we played,” head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We weren’t as crisp as we could be or maybe we needed to be, but overall I thought we played really well.”
The only goal of the game came in the first two minutes of play, with Pepperdine’s Lynn Williams scoring on a through ball from Michelle Manning.
Pepperdine had another opportunity at goal when a ball was played behind the Cougar defense to Anisa Guajardo, but keeper McKinizie Olson was able to obstruct the player and came away with an amazing block off her foot. Olson finished the game with four impressive saves.
The Cougars were unable to execute in the final third of the first half, having only two shots on goal, the first of which came from a hard left foot strike by Jaiden Thornock with seven minutes left in the half, but Pepperdine keeper Roxanne Barker was able to deflect.
Both teams picked up momentum in the second half, and BYU was able to create more opportunities in the box, with eight shots on goal compared to two in the first half. However, the Cougars were still unable to get anything past the Pepperdine defense and goalie.
“There is a reason why Pepperdine is undefeated and ranked eighth in the country,” Rockwood said. “They’re a very good team, but I really felt, especially in the second half, we came out and put a lot of pressure on them.”
A team that has only given up seven goals so far this season, along with their undefeated record, Pepperdine has also now recorded seven shutouts.
The BYU defense held strong, allowing only seven shots on goal for a team that averages 15 a game. This was only the third time this season that Pepperdine was held to single digit shots. Colette Jepson led the Cougars with four shots on goal.
"We definitely created opportunities but unfortunately we weren’t able to get that tying goal,” Rockwood said. “Overall I was pleased with the way we battled.”
The Cougars now hit the road for a two-game stint, playing No. 17 Santa Clara on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. PDT and Gonzaga on Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. PDT.
"I think we had some great looks and some great chances. We tried to put a lot of pressure on them, and that’s all you can really ask from your players, to play hard and to create those goal-scoring opportunities."
"Unfortunately we weren’t able to get that tying goal, I believe that if we could have got it we probably could have moved forward."
WCC Play Begins WIth Portland at Home, Thursday
Action as the WCC's newest member begins on South FIeld this week for the BYU women's soccer team, starting Thursday against Portland at 7 p.m. MT and Saturday against No. 8 Pepperdine at 1 p.m. MT.
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Thursday's game against Portland has been chosen by the NSCAA and FOX soccer as the nation's "Game of the Week" and will be broadcast live on FOX soccer with commentary from Dean Linke and Kyndra de St. Aubin.
The Cougars are in the middle of a four-game home swing and, after being off the game field for about a week, are ready to come back against the Pilots on Thurdsay in front of a record-setting crowd. The current attendance record on South Field is 4,742 fans which was set in 2006. The Cougars have seen more than 22,000 fans over 11 games this season and are averaging a 3,213 attendance on their home field.
A 6-3-2 record is on the line for the Cougars when they host the 5-5-1 Portland Pilots. Senior Jennie Marshall, junior Carlee Payne and freshman Jaiden Thornock currently lead the BYU offense with three goals apiece and a combined 57 shots on the year. A total of 11 different players have scored at least one goal in BYU's 11 games, combining for 20 team goals.
The Pilots are led offensively by Danielle Foxhoven with five goals and 36 shots, and is one of five Pilots to have recorded double-digit shots this season. Portland has won three of its last five games and come to Provo as the winners of four-straight conference titles in the WCC.
The Pepperdine Waves are riding an 8-0-4 record and will come to Provo with a No. 8 ranking in the nation after going unbeaten thus far this year. The Waves are outscoring their opponents 27 to eight and out-shooting them 183 to 130 in 12 games. Anisa Guajardo leads the Pepperdine offense with eight goals and 31 shots as one of seven players on the Waves roster to record double-digit shots.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and online at byutv.org/live for free.