The BYU Cougars have assumed the role of spoiler on the biggest stage.
The Cougars, the 4-seed in their bracket of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament, upset the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday in the round of 16, winning 1-0 in Virginia’s home territory in Charlottesville.
A 47th-minute goal from Cam Tucker was the difference-maker, and Cassidy Smith got the clean sheet in net.
“I am just proud of the way we fought through that,” said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood in a press release. “Defensively, it was one of our best performances, and it had to be against a team like Virginia. Our outside backs particularly had a handful. And what a goal by Cam. I’m somewhat speechless after that win.”
Not only was BYU’s win an upset, but it avenged a loss to the Cavaliers in the 2020 NCAA Tournament, which was played earlier this year because of the pandemic.
Virginia outshot the Cougars 15-12, but the high-powered underdog had a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal.
Tucker’s goal came in the opening minutes of the second half after a first half in which the Cavaliers held a 9-6 edge in shots.
“All we knew we needed was to get one goal, but we played great team defense as well,” Tucker said in the press release. “In the first half I had some opportunities, but I knew that if I went at speed they wouldn’t catch up with me.
“It means a lot to win this game. All we wanted was a rematch with Virginia because we knew we were the better team. It feels really good and we are so excited for the Elite 8.”
In the quarterfinals, the Cougars will face Sunday’s winner between South Carolina and Penn State.
South Carolina upset the No. 2 seed in its bracket, North Carolina.
It marks the fourth time in program history (2003, 2012, 2019 and 2021) that BYU has made it to the Elite Eight.
The date, time and location of the regional final will be announced at a later date.