OREM, Utah – In the midst of a six-game road swing, the Utah Valley University soccer team returns to Utah County where it will meet 9th-ranked BYU at 7 p.m. Thursday night at BYU's South Field. Separated by five miles of University Parkway, Thursday's match stands as the first-ever regular season meeting between the two schools. The match will be aired live on BYUtv and streamed online on the UVU website.
From there, the Wolverines head to California for a Sunday clash with another West Coast Conference foe, Loyola Marymount. That match begins at 2 p.m. MT at LMU's Sullivan Field. Live stats for both matches can be accessed through the UVU website.
Last Week UVU (1-8-1) traveled northwest last weekend, facing a pair of WAC schools in Idaho and Seattle University. The Wolverines suffered another one-goal defeat Friday night, losing 1-0 to the Vandals of Idaho, then falling 4-2 to the Redhawks Sunday afternoon. Kali Stubbs scored her first career goal against Seattle U, who is currently ranked No. 9 in the West Region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Statistically, the Wolverines are led by senior forward Regan Benson’s four goals. Three of those goals have been scored in UVU's last three games. Forward Natalie Baker is next with three goals on 20 shots for the season, while midfielders Haley Curtis and Lexi Robison have each scored twice.
About BYU BYU (10-1-0) is one of the hottest teams in the nation, coming into Thursday's contest ranked No. 9 in the country by the NSCAA and riding an eight-game winning streak. The Cougars have outscored their opponents 21-3 during the streak, which includes victories over three ranked opponents.
BYU defeated then-No. 11 Long Beach State 1-0 on Aug. 30, picked up a huge 3-1 win over No. 6 Penn State on Sept. 8 and topped No. 23 Washington 3-1 one week later.
The Cougars also have wins over Arizona, Texas and Cal Poly.
Following a 1-0 win at Utah State on Thursday, BYU picked up victory number 10 on the season at Oregon Saturday. The Cougars got the deciding goal in the sixth minute from senior forward Carlee Payne Holmoe and held on for the final 84 minutes to beat the Ducks 1-0.
Sophomore forward Jaiden Thornock, who has fired a team-high 37 shots this year, and Michele Murphy, a freshman forward, lead BYU in goals with five apiece. Just behind them are Holmoe and senior forward Jessica Ringwood with four. Holmoe is also tops on the team in assists with six, giving her a team-leading 14 points on the season.
In goal, junior Erica Owens has 35 saves and is operating at a remarkable 0.57 goals against average.
At 2.4 goals per game, BYU stands as the 25th-best scoring offense in Division I. The Cougars also top the WCC in shots, points, goals, goals per game, goals allowed, goals against average and shutouts.
The Cougars are a perfect 6-0 at South Field this season, and along with their No. 9 national ranking, were recognized by the NSCAA as the No. 1 squad in the West Region.
About Loyola Marymount Sunday's match against Utah Valley stands as the first contest in two weeks for LMU (5-3-2) as it took a 14-day break following the Arizona Cats Classic Sept. 14-16. The Lions faced Arizona State and Arizona at the Classic, falling 3-0 to the Sun Devils, but battling to a scoreless draw with the host Wildcats.
With three goals, junior midfielder Darien Pyka leads LMU in scoring. Four other Lions have tallied twice this season. Freshman midfielder Jocelyn Blankenship has posted a team-high three assists to go along with a lone season goal.
Goalkeeper Brittany Jagger, a redshirt junior has played every minute in goal for LMU, notching 42 saves and putting up a 1.24 goals against average.
The Lions are 3-2 at Sullivan Field this season, picking up wins over Cal State Fullerton, Idaho State, and Great West Conference member Houston Baptist.
UVU is 0-1-0 all-time against LMU, losing 4-1 in the schools' only meeting back in 2006.
Up Next The Wolverines close out their six-game, midseason road trip in the Golden State. UVU will meet CSU Bakersfield Tuesday, Oct. 2, then return to Orem on Friday, Oct. 5 for the GWC opener against NJIT.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.