The 6th ranked BYU Cougars women's soccer team won a hard fought and emotional battle with their rival Utah at South Field. With over 5,400 fans in attendance, another South Field record, the Cougars overcame losing Jaiden Thornock to beat the Utes 1-0. This was the first match in the year long Deseret Duel between the schools.
Scoreless First Half
The first half was very possession oriented as the two teams started off very conservative. BYU dominated the offensive stats in the half with 7 shot on goal to 1 for Utah.
The starting goalkeeper for Utah was out with the flu, but her replacement didn't miss a beat. With intense pressure from the Cougar offense, she withstood all first half attempts, including a scrum where the ball found the foot of three different Cougars inside the box.
Both teams utilized substitutes in order to keep their starters fresh for the second half. One yellow card for each team was issued in the first half, with the Utes receiving theirs on a trip from behind, while the Cougars received theirs when Thornock slid with her cleats up. With the half ending in a 0-0 tie, the Utah defense extended their scoreless streak past 300 minutes.
BYU came out aggressive in the second half with shot after shot on goal. With 28 minutes left in the game, Thornock received her second yellow card and was ejected. She has also been penalized to sit out the Oregon game as well. This was the first time in 3 years the Cougars have had a player ejected.
With 2:34 left in the game, the Cougars finally broke through with the only score of the game. After another shot on goal that was saved by the Utes, the Utah goalkeeper took exception to a Cougar in the box and shoved her in front of the referee. Ashley Hatch took the penalty kick while slipping past the goalkeeper as she moved right.
Immediately following the goal, a hard tackle ensued and another red card was issued with and the main advantage for Utah was lost. One more yellow card was issued to BYU before the end of the game bringing the total to seven. Four of the yellow cards turned into red cards as one player from each team was ejected. Utah was unable to rally after the goal and BYU walked off the field with the win.
Michelle Murphy Injured
BYU found out before the game that Michelle Murphy will miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL that happened in the LSU game. Many of the players wore her #7, written in marker, on their arms in her honor. BYU now leads the series 19-6-1 over Utah. This was the first loss on the year for the Utes, having tied twice and won only once. BYU increases their record to 4-0-0 and will next travel to Oregon on Sept. 12.
The game in Oregon will be at 8 pm MDT and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. The Cougars will play their next home game on September 14th against UC Irvine at 7 pm MDT and it will be televised on BYUtv.