NCAA women’s soccer tournament: BYU and Utah hoping to make good runs starting this weekend
BYU captured a No. 2 seed and is expected to make a deep run while Utah hopes to upset No. 12-ranked Duke.
PROVO — BYU doesn’t like to focus on it, but it’s hard to ignore.
Heading into its first-round match of the NCAA tournament versus Boise State on Friday, the BYU women’s soccer team owns a near perfect 18-0-1 mark on the year. It’s a remarkable feat for a team in any sport, but considering the nuances involved with the course of a soccer match, it makes the Cougars’ undefeated record all the more remarkable.
The accomplishment saw BYU yet again win the West Coast Conference championship and go on to earn a No. 2 seed in the 64-team NCAA tournament.
“It’s similar to rankings or streaks in that we don’t really discuss those things, other than just making sure the girls appreciate what they’ve accomplished,” said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. “... As far as being undefeated, it’s just something we didn’t talk about.”
Of course any team with the record BYU has attracts a lot of honors, with the Cougars cleaning up with regards to WCC honors, starting with junior midfielder Mikayla Colohan being named the conference Player of the Year. Second on the team in scoring, with 14 goals, the 5-foot-8 midfielder provided a dominant force on both offense and defense.
“What they’ve been able build on is not to get too amped up before a game and not too low if things don’t go as well as planned. We’ve been able to come back from being down ... and find a way to get results, and then to improve with every game.” — BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood
Joining Colohan as standouts with regards to WCC honors were first-team WCC performers Elise Flake, who led the team with 17 goals scored, and defender Alyssa Jefferson. Second-team honors went to defender Rachel Bingham Lyman and midfielder Lizzy Braby.
“What they’ve been able build on is not to get too amped up before a game and not too low if things don’t go as well as planned,” Rockwood said of her standout players. “We’ve been able to come back from being down ... and find a way to get results, and then to improve with every game.”
Looking to extend that no-loss mark is now the goal, one that is likely to get progressively tougher each week BYU remains in the tournament. But first up is Mountain West Conference champion Boise State (18-4), a team the Cougars didn’t know much about just after the matchup was announced.
“Most of the focus will be on us and what we can do to get better,” Rockwood said about the matchup.
Utah hoping to upset Duke
The Utah soccer team (8-8-4) was also included in the NCAA tournament and will travel across the country to take on No. 12-ranked Duke (8-3-7.)
“This team has been climbing and fighting all season,” said Utah coach Rich Manning. “We continued to battle and got results at the end. This is a great achievement for our team. I am so happy that our seniors get at least one more game to play together.”
BYU (18-0-1, 8-0-1 WCC) VS. BOISE STATE (18-4-0, 8-3-0 MWC)
- Friday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. MST, at South Field
- TV: BYUtv
- Radio: BYU Sports Network, BYU Cougars App and 107.9 FM
DUKE (8-3-7 ACC) VS. UTAH (8-8-4 PAC-12)
- Friday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. EST, at Koskinen Stadium
- TV: ACC Network Extra