BYU Soccer Recap: Cougars tie Sol 2-2

Colby Bauer at Senior Night with his family. - Kevin Kennedy

Cougars and Sol tie on a late stoppage time goal by the Sol.

With four seniors being honored on Senior Night, the Cougars gave up a late stoppage time goal to tie the Sol with a score of 2-2.  Brian Hale, Scott Heaton, Colby Bauer and Jonathan Junca led the way in a pre-game ceremony with their families, and their teammates looked determined to send them out without a losing at South Field this year.  After the game coach Christopher Watkins admitted he was second guessing himself after resting some of his players for the playoffs, but was happy with the effort put forth by his reserves.

First Half

Coming out of the gate the Cougars controlled the game in the early minutes as the pressured the Sol into turnovers and early mistakes.  The Cougars had a number of chances but an offside and a few missed passes cost the Cougars shot attempts while controlling the ball.  The Sol put up their first real threat in the 13th minute, but a save by Brian Hale kept the teams scoreless.  The Cougar pressure continued and a trip by Joaquin Serrano earned him the first yellow card of the game in the 14th minute.

The Cougars continued to play on the Sol half of the field and BYU just missed taking the lead in the 15th minute when a header sailed just over the net.  Just moments later the Cougars capitalized on their aggressive play as another header was tipped by Goalie Lucas Champenoir but on the rebound Jace Green connected on a beautiful bicycle kick, scoring the first goal of the game.  Coach Watkins called the shot one of the "best of the year".

With a 1-0 lead the Cougars quickly followed a trend over the last few games that resulted in Isaiah Madrid goal for the equalizer in the 17th minute.  Finding themselves in a tie again, the Cougars continued to apply the pressure and followed up the equalizer with a goal of their own.  With a near goal in the 20th minute, Jonathan Junca was tripped in the box and earned a penalty Kick.  Junca had never taken a penalty kick for the Cougars and after some slight encouragement from Green, Junca walked up and rocketed the ball into the opposite right corner as the goalie dove left, giving the Cougars the 2-1 lead in the 21st minute.  With the Sol picking up the pace of the game, the Cougars earned their first yellow card when Jace Green was called for a tackle and neither team could capitalize as they missed on sailed shots or offsides calls.  Just before the half, an incredible save kept BYU from another goal and a Scott Heaon shot bounced off the inside of the post for another missed opportunity, leaving the halftime score at 2-1.

Second Half

The Sol came out of the locker room taking the role of the aggressor and kept the ball on the Cougars side of the field.  BYU picked their spots and managed a couple of shots early in the half, but they were just off target, keeping the score 2-1 into the 53rd minute.  As the pace of the game picked up for both teams the frustrations began to show and in the 58th minute Isaiah Madrid earned a yellow card when he kicked the ball at the goal after the play.

In the 62nd minute the crowd came to life as senior Colby Bauer walked off his home field for the final time in his Cougar career.  The teams continued to battle but neither team could gain a significant advantage as the clock continued to tick down and the 2-1 lead continued to hold through the 70th minute.

BYU began to put the pressure back on as the game progressed, but shots continued to be elusive through the later stages of the game.  Both coaches put fresh legs on the field to try and push the game, but it failed to amount to points for either side.  In the 73rd minute the Sol took a beautiful shot on goal, but an even better save by senior Goalie Brian Hale kept the Cougars in the lead.

In the 77th minute the Cougars attacked again and earned a corner kick, but the Sol cleared the ball and prevented a catastrophic goal by the Cougars.  Not content to sit on the ball, the Cougars continued to attack, giving the Sol very few chances for shots.

With desperation entering the game, the Sol found any advantage they could to score the equalizer, but they were stopped time and time again.  In the 83rd minute the Cougars were given another yellow card, but the Sol were unable to get past Hale.

The Sol continued to push as they tried to even up the score and managed to just get the ball past Hale in stoppage time.  With the equalizer coming late in the game the Cougars were unable to mount a successful attack and ended with the tie and one point in the standings.

Next Game

The Cougars will next play on Saturday against the same Albuquerque Sol at 7:30 in New Mexico.  The Cougars have earned a spot in the playoffs for the first time in seven years and will play in Las Vegas on the 19th.

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