Cougars hold on for 1-0 win over Virginia to advance to Elite 8
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — With a tight, physical 1-0 win over Virginia Saturday night at Klöckner Stadium, the BYU women’s soccer team has advanced to the regional final of the NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars advance to the Elite 8 for the fourth time in program history (2003, 2012, 2019 and 2021).
“I am just proud of the way we fought through that,” said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. “Defensively, it was one of our best performances, and it had to be against a team like Virginia. Our outside backs particularly had a handful. And what a goal by Cam. I’m somewhat speechless after that win.”
The game started out even, with no team taking control. Cameron Tucker got a shot on goal in the fifth minute, but it was saved in the bottom-left corner by Virginia’s goalkeeper Laurel Ivory. Tucker had another shot in the 18th minute, but it sailed just over the crossbar. Brecken Mozingo also had a chance to score one minute later in the 19th, but her ball nicked the left-side of the woodwork.
Virginia had nine shots and three shots on goal in the first half. A shot was sent by Haley Hopkins in the 23rd minute, but it went out right.
Kendell Petersen setup Rachel McCarthy in the 41st minute for a header, but it was saved by the goalie for BYU’s second shot on goal for the night.
The goalkeepers were tested, with a combined five saves in the first half, BYU’s Cassidy Smith gathered three of them.
Tucker opened the second half with a highlight-reel goal, hooking the ball to the top-right side of the net, past the diving Virginia keeper, for the Cougars to take the 1-0 lead at the 46:26 minute mark.
“All we knew we needed was to get one goal, but we played great team defense as well,” Tucker said. “In the first half I had some opportunities, but I knew that if I went at speed they wouldn’t catch up with me.”
The remainder of the game featured strong defensive play from the Cougars, keeping the Virgina offense at bay and maintaining possession of the ball.
Jamie Shepherd had a key defensive play in the 55th minute, covering a lot of ground to steal the ball as UVA looked to score from about 20 yards out.
Addie Gardner got the ball off BYU’s press and sent a shot wide in the 58th minute.
Tucker had another scoring opportunity off of a dead sprint in the 72nd minute, but sent the ball right of Ivory. Colohan setup Tucker again in transition at the 71:17 mark, but Tucker’s attempt couldn’t find the back of the net.
“It means a lot to win this game,” Tucker said. “All we wanted was a rematch with Virginia because we knew we were the better team. It feels really good and we are so excited for the Elite 8.”
Up next, BYU will face the winner of the South Carolina and Penn State, which airs on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. EST in Los Angeles, California. The date, time and location of the regional final will be announced at a later date.
The Cougars took the field for the first time of the 2023 season Saturday night for the annual Blue vs White game.…