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Cougs double up Aggies

BYU gets another goal from Larkin to remain unbeaten

PROVO — Besides what is becoming the obligatory Katie Larkin game-winning goal, the frequent mid-match injury and another hard-fought victory for the undefeated BYU women's soccer team, the 16th-ranked Cougars still found ways to make Thursday night's 2-1 victory over Utah State unique.

For the first time this season, someone not named Larkin or Kassidy Christensen scored for the 9-0-2 Cougars — and it was a defender, no less, in Amanda Draeger.

Also, for bruised-and-battered BYU, goalkeeper Erika Woodbury — one of the nation's tops in saves, shutouts and goals-against — went down just before intermission with her left knee split open by an opponent's cleats. She returned 14 stitches and 17 game minutes later, sharing the net victory with teammate Aleena Shelton.

And Larkin — the Cougars' leading scorer — was a nonfactor until the end, taking her first and only shot of the match in the 88th minute for her eighth game-winning goal of 2007.

"It was a matter of pride," said Larkin, who collected the ball near the right sideline and dribbled through the USU defense, unleashing a 20-yard, left-footed looper that cleared the reach of Aggie keeper Alli Griffin and snuck into the goal's top-left corner. "I wasn't about to let Utah State shut me out completely."

The late effort didn't surprise Utah State coach Heather Cairns: "Katie Larkin's a special player. All the hype about her is well-deserved."

Cairns's 4-7-0 Aggies outplayed the Cougars in the first half, outshooting them 4-2 — all on-goal attempts — and going to intermission tied 1-all.

"We were flat," said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. "They beat us to every ball."

In the 10th minute, USU had a goal waived off on a flurry in front of the net because of a hand-ball call.

Five minutes later, Draeger joined the attack from the backfield, taking a crossing pass from Larkin on the left and then booming a 25-yarder from the right front to inside the left post as the Cougars took the 1-0 lead.

"When you have an opportunity like that, you take it," said Draeger, who earlier in the week had jokingly offered dinner to backfield peers if they logged a goal, saying "it's time for the defensive line to score."

In the 18th minute, USU's Candice Clark took a ball forwarded by teammates Stefani Shiozaki and Dana Pert, bobbing and weaving around BYU defenders before popping in her first goal of the season to tie the score at 1-all.

At the 30-minute mark, USU's Griffin snuffed a BYU penalty kick — afforded when Larkin was taken down in the box — as the Aggie keeper blocked Andrea Willis' PK attempt.

Shelton came on for Woodbury in the 43rd minute for a 17-minute cameo. However, the stingy Cougar defense didn't allow an Aggie shot throughout the second half.

Both teams conclude their nonconference slates Saturday, as BYU travels to Arizona and USU plays host to Utah at 1 p.m. in Logan.


E-mail: taylor@desnews.com