Colohan leads BYU to 4-1 win over Alabama, Cougars advance to NCAA Sweet 16
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Led by a hat trick from senior midfielder Mikayla Colohan, No. 4 seed BYU women’s soccer defeated Alabama 4-1 Thursday evening at Klöckner Stadium to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
“What a great performance and hard-fought battle between us and Alabama,” said Jennifer Rockwood, BYU head coach. “We haven’t seen that type of pressure in a while. Such a great night for Kayla. She put on a show.”
Colohan factored in on all four BYU goals, assisting on the first and scoring the next three. The seven points she registered in the game put her at 140 points in her career, now sitting alone at No. 2 in the BYU record books. Her 51 goals have her at No. 3 in BYU history in that category.
With the victory over Alabama, BYU secured its first win over an SEC team this season, after losing to Auburn and Arkansas earlier in the year, both on the road.
BYU had 11 shots on goal in the game, containing Alabama to only two.
Cameron Tucker struck first in just the fourth minute of the game, sending the ball to the bottom-left corner of the goal off her right foot. She was set up with a perfect pass from Colohan into space for the early 1-0 Cougar lead.
After a foul in the box from Alabama’s Bella Scaturro, Colohan had a penalty kick opportunity in the 20th minute and scored, walking away calmly after the ball found the back of the net to boost BYU’s lead to 2-0.
Colohan’s shot was blocked with 40 seconds left in the half, but Lavenia Vaka found the deflection and trickled the ball back down to the attacking third, with freshman Addie Gardner setting up Colohan, who scored in the final minute and approached halftime with a 3-0 lead. It was Gardner’s first career assist.
“Addie’s had a great season for us,” Rockwood said. “She hasn’t seen a ton of minutes because she has such great attacking players in front of her, but we have a lot of confidence in her. She is quick and lightning fast. It’s tough for Alabama to recover after three goals in one half.”
The late first-half goal was the 50th of Colohan’s career. She is the fourth BYU women’s soccer player to score at least 50 goals, joining Shauna Rohbock (94), Sara Reading (52) and Maren Hendershot-McCrary (51).
The Cougars restricted the Crimson Tide to zero shots on goal in the first half, compared to their own seven.
The Cougars had a corner kick from Bella Folino in the 60th minute to Grace Johnson for a header, but the attempt was saved by the Alabama goalkeeper McKinley Crone. The Crimson Tide keeper went on to have seven saves in the game.
With the season on the line, Alabama came back to score in the 65th minute on a goal by Felicia Knox. She sent the ball under BYU goalkeeper Cassidy Smith to the bottom-left of the goal off of a rebound for a 3-1 score.
Colohan got the three-goal cushion back for the Cougars when she scored in the 74th minute for her third goal of the night. Colohan’s hat trick is the second of her career, with both occurring this season as her first was against Idaho State on September 16.
“The game comes a lot easier when you get a goal quickly,” Colohan said. “I think it’s all in front of us now. I’m looking forward to Saturday, no matter who we play, but it gives me chills knowing that we might match up against Virginia again in the tournament," Colohan said immediately after the game.
Up next, BYU will face No. 1 Virginia, as they defeated Milwaukee, in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. EST for a spot in the Elite 8. The game will be live on the ACC Network/ESPN.com. Virginia eliminated BYU from last season’s NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars took the field for the first time of the 2023 season Saturday night for the annual Blue vs White game.…