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Cougs, Aztecs battle to naught

PROVO - In a Mountain West Conference opener between two women's soccer teams so desperate for not only a victory but even a mere goal, BYU and San Diego State battled to a scoreless tie Thursday night at South Field.

Neither the Cougars (4-7-3) nor the Aztecs (3-6-4) could convert on plenty of opportunities. Both now sport identical 0-0-1 league marks.

SDSU now has gone four-plus games sans a goal, with Thursday night's 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes pushing the Aztecs' scoreless string to 451 minutes and 44 seconds.

For the Cougars, it only seems just as long. In its last four outings, BYU has managed only one goal, coming in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Eastern Washington.

"This is a mental battle as well as a physical battle," said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood of the Cougars trying to shake its scoring slump of late. In eight games over 22 days, BYU has managed single goals in four games and has been shut out in the other four.

"We've just got to find a way to get the ball in the back of the net," Rockwood said, "but we've been saying that all year."

BYU's Erika Woodbury and SDSU's Sophia Perez earned the shutouts in net. The Cougars logged 11 shots and three on-goal shots; the Aztecs nine and three -shot statistics that Rockwood said seemed paltry compared to her recollection of BYU attempts.

The Cougars had one goal - an Annie Zwahlen header off a Bobbi Tillotson cross in the 71st minute - nullified by an offsides call. And Zwahlen's chip from a Jaime Rendich pass in the final 30 seconds of soared harmlessly over the Aztecs' net.

BYU missed its best OT chance midway in the first extra period, as Perez misplayed a Tillotson corner kick, with none of the Cougars in the scramble in front of goal able to rebound in the dropped ball.

The Cougars finish their two-game homestand with a 7 p.m. match Saturday against UNLV. It is the final regular-season home match, with BYU's final five matches through the end of the month all on the road.