The 23rd ranked Cougars couldn't find the net until the end in a very competitive game at South Field. BYU ended up with time of possession and led in shots, but the Bears found the net twice as they beat the Cougars 2-1. With the loss the Cougars now sit at 1-1-2 on the year and have only scored three times in their four games.
In the first half, the Bears came out and controlled the game as they played the role of aggressor. They forced the Cougars to rely on their defense as they kept the ball on the BYU half of the field early on. The defense for the Cougars did step up time and time again as they kept the Bears off the board, and without a shot for the first 18 minutes. The defense looked suspect in the 12th minute as they lost the ball just outside the box but managed to get a foot on the ball to prevent a shot on goal. The Cougars first real offensive chance came in the 13th as Michele Murphy found herself behind the Baylor defense, but she couldn't get a shot off before the defense regrouped.
The first shot of the game for either team didn't happen until the 19th minute when Baylor managed a slow roller to Katherine Snyder. Baylor continued to press the Cougars, but they couldn't find a good shot as the BYU defenders continued to clamp down. BYU earned their first shot on goal in the 29th minute but a Marissa Nimmer shot went high over the net. In the 32nd minute the Cougars had control of the ball and had one of their best sequences of the half as multiple passes led an Ashley Hatch bouncer to Baylor goalkeeper Michelle Kloss.
The two teams played very balanced as Baylor held the ball only 51% of the half. With BYU taking the role of the aggressor, they managed four shots on the half but couldn't capitalize. It appeared that the half would end scoreless, but in the 45th minute the Bears shocked the Cougars. Justine Hovden for the Bears took the ball just outside the box and took a shot into the upper corner of the net, just outside the reach of Snyder giving Baylor the 1-0 halftime lead. The goal for the Bears snapped a 274 minute scoreless streak for the Cougars defense.
The Cougars came out wanting to make up for the deficit, but again the Bears came out with the energy. In the 47th minute, the Cougars defensive back line just missed a Baylor pass giving Precious Akanyirige a quick shot that froze Hannah Clark and a 2-0 lead for the Bears. In the 50th minute the aggression turned into a Baylor yellow card as Hovden received the first card of the game.
In the 52nd minute the Cougars just avoided disaster as a ball slipped between the legs of Clark but Miranda Bailey made a terrific clear out as the third goal was about to be scored. The Cougars received their first corner kick in the 55th minute but they were unable to capitalize and Baylor cleared the ball. In the 59th minute the Cougars were given another corner kick, but the ball was again cleared and reset.
The Bears were content to rely on their defense as the games continued, leaving BYU to frantically try and get a ball past the goalie. BYU couldn't find a way to break the defense as time and again they were turned back. In the 65th minute took a beautiful shot that hit the far post, just out of the reach of Kloss but it ricocheted straight sideways and hit the other post into the waiting hands of Kloss.
Even though the Cougars didn't score, it rejuvenated them and they continued to put pressure on the Baylor defense. Even with free kicks and aggressive play, the Cougars were still unable to put a point on the board through 70 minutes. In the 75th minute, the Cougars again threatened as the Kloss couldn't keep up with the ball, but the defense cleared the ball and the Cougars came out empty.
In the 81st minute the Cougars were awarded a yellow card as Nadia Gomes ran into Kloss on an offensive set. In the 83rd minute the Cougars again threatened as they had numbers, but the defense was able to poke the ball away yet again, preventing another in the box shot. In the 84th minute the Cougars faced a scary moment as Ashley Hatch went down with an apparent leg injury and had to be helped off the field. A penalty was called, awarding the Cougars a free kick that again was defended to perfection, squashing any comeback that BYU had in mind. BYU earned the Cougars another yellow card as Elizabeth Phillips was called for causing a collision on a 50-50 ball. In the 89th minute the Bears were called for a hand ball in the box and so the Cougars had a penalty kick that went to the opposite side of the net as Kloss couldn't predict the shot by Phillips, preventing the first back to back home shut outs since 2005 and giving the Cougars their only goal of the game.
BYU will next travel to Salt Lake City to take on in-state rival Utah. The game will be on Friday, September 5th at 5pm MDT and can be heard on the Cougars IMG Sports Network and can be seen on the PAC 12 Network.