Four goals give Cougars third straight WCC title
STOCKTON, Calif. -- No. 15 BYU women's soccer clinched its third West Coast Conference championship in three years with a 4-0 victory over Pacific on Saturday night.
The Cougars (13-3-3, 7-0-1) also earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and are just the fifth team and first not named Portland or Santa Clara to win three consecutive WCC titles.
"I'm really, really proud of this group of girls for the season we've had," BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "We had a rocky start and the girls have continued to work hard every game. Winning another WCC championship is unbelievable."
Sophomore forward Ashley Hatch scored two goals for the Cougars, one in each half. Her first was on a counter attack as Sarah Chambers cleared a ball from the box to Elisabeth Phillips. Phillips found Niki Fernandes who in turn found Elena Medeiros running past midfield and Medeiros put a through ball on the money as Hatch outran two defenders and fired to the far post hitting the side netting for a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
Later in the half, freshman Nadia Gomes about replicated Hatch's opening goal, but from the other side. Off a pass from Jaiden Thornock, Gomes entered the box and fired to the far side of goal for a 2-0 lead in the 39th minute.
In the second half, Hatch added her second goal and 17th of the season. Michele Murphy threaded a ball to Marissa Nimmer at the top of the box. Nimmer poked the ball out of a crowd and into the path of Hatch who was free in the box. Hatch beat the keeper to the left for the 3-0 advantage in the 56th minute.
In the 79th minute, Gomes returned the favor to Thornock as she intercepted a goal kick and found Thornock in the box. Thornock sidestepped the keeper and scored on the open net.
After taking 31 shots on Thursday and only scoring once, BYU attempted 29 shots and scored 4 goals. Murphy led the team with eight shots and four on goal. Nimmer and Hatch each took four putting three on goal, while Madie Lyons took three shots and Phillips took two. Pacific (2-15-1, 0-7-0) goalkeeper Jacqueline Kane made 13 saves on the night.
"We're excited to move on and play Pepperdine for a chance to finish the season undefeated in conference," Rockwood said.
The Cougars face No. 12 Pepperdine in Malibu on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. PT in the final game of the regular season.
The Cougars took the field for the first time of the 2023 season Saturday night for the annual Blue vs White game.…