BYU collects seven All-WCC honors
SAN MATEO, Calif. — The West Coast Conference (WCC) coaches voted BYU junior defender Laveni Vaka the WCC Defensive Player of the Year, and junior midfielder Jamie Shepherd as Midfielder of the Year.
Shepherd and Vaka were two of three Cougars named to the All-WCC First Team, joining forward standout Brecken Mozingo. Juniors Olivia Smith and Olivia Wade received All-WCC Second Team honors. Freshmen Allie Fryer and Izzi Stratton were both named to the WCC All-Freshman Team.
Vaka proved to be a leader on BYU’s backline this season with her aggressive style of play and vision of the field. As WCC Defensive Player of the Year, Vaka played the most minutes out of any BYU player this season with 1,542 in 18 games, also recording one assist and four shots.
As one of the 2022 team captains, Shepherd led her team to No. 2 in conference play and a No. 6 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. With seven goals, four assists, 18 points and 42 shots, Shepherd controlled the pace of BYU’s games against four Top 25 teams. She has started in every game (81) she has played since arriving at BYU. Along with the WCC Midfielder of the Year honor, Shepherd was also named to the All-WCC First Team for a second-straight year.
Mozingo led one of the most dominant offenses in the country, ranking No. 1 nationally in shots per game (5.78) and leading the WCC in total assists (10) on the season. With the help of Mozingo, Shepherd and Wade, BYU ranks No. 1 nationally in shots per game (26.33), No. 3 in shots on goal per game (9.50), No. 5 in corner kicks per game (7.72) and No. 12 in total goals (45).
With two WCC Player of the Week awards this season, Mozingo went on a five-game scoring streak, tallying six goals and two assists. Overall, she led the Cougars in goals (12), assists (10) and points (34) this season. In 2021, Mozingo earned All-WCC Second Team honors.
Wade was named to the WCC Second Team with seven goals, five assists, 19 points and one Player of the Week honor this season. Smith also secured a spot on the WCC Second Team as a dominant contributor on BYU’s defense. With one goal, four assists and 12 shots, Smith helped the Cougars on their 11-game undefeated run to close out regular season play. Smith was selected for the All-WCC Freshman Team in 2021.
BYU tied Santa Claracc for most players represented on the All-WCC First Team with three each. Mozingo made history with 10 assists in a single season, which is tied for fourth-highest in BYU history. She is now ranked No. 4 in most shots in a season, with 104, right behind former Cougar Sara Reading's 107. With three multi-goal games this season, Mozingo is also tied for fourth-most multi-goal games amongst Cougars.
Stratton proved to be BYU's consistent center back this season as a true freshman, with 12 shots and 1,445 minutes played. A WCC All-Freshman Team selection, Stratton was a key component for the Cougars with her strength and height on the backline to help secure five shutouts on the season. Fellow freshman Fryer was an offensive force off the bench, tallying seven goals, one assist and 35 shots this season. With three game-winning goals late in the season, Fryer helped the Cougars post a 6-0-3 WCC record.
For a full list of the All-WCC and player of the year honorees, head to the WCC website.
After receiving the No. 6 seed, the Cougars are preparing for the first round of the NCAA Tournament this week. BYU will play Utah Valley University on Friday, November 11 at 6 p.m. MST on South Field. The winner will move on to face the winner of the San Jose St. and Stanford match, which is set for Friday, November 11 at 8 p.m. MST.
The Cougars took the field for the first time of the 2023 season Saturday night for the annual Blue vs White game.…