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What we learned from women’s soccer blue vs white

BYU Photo

Despite BYU’s fall Olympic sports being postponed until spring, women’s soccer held their annual blue vs white match at South Field on Saturday night in front of family members.

The Blue vs White, although better named the blue vs black featured two 40 minute halves. The blue team lined up in the first half with what BYU fans could see as a starting lineup come spring, with four returning starters playing in blue. Cassidy Smith started in goal for blue, with the rest of the lineup including Olivia Wade, Mikayla Colohan, Brecken Mozingo, Cameron Tucker, Jamie Shepherd, Kendall Petersen, Laveni Vaka, Abbie Kotter, Natalee Wells, and Josie Guinn Gelalich. Of note, SaraJayne Affleck was not present in the scrimmage.

Blue opened up the scoring with freshman Abbie Kotter striking the ball past freshman GK Haven Empey in the 8th minute.

In the 15th minute, Olivia Wade doubled the lead. Wade appears to have moved up into the Forward position, likely due to her talent and the existing competition in midfield between Colohan, Mozingo, and Shepherd.

Rachel McCarthy got one back for black in the 20th minute with a smooth half volley from the left side of the box.

Colohan added another goal for blue in the 24th minute with a shot clearing Empey’s finger tips. Ten minutes later, she added her second in the upper right corner.

Ellie Maughan scored a second goal for black on the stroke of halftime, placing the ball beyond the outstretched hand of Cassidy Smith into the side-netting.

Blue took a 4-2 lead into the break.

In the second half, Rockwood made changes that saw BYU’s front line switch to black to put some pressure on the blue team’s back line. Mozingo stepped up front for black while Wade dropped into midfield. Tucker and Wade switched to black as well. Bella Folino and Lytiana Akinaka joined the blue squad up front, as did midfielder Ashton Brockbank Johnson.

The second half was much less pacy than the first half, but featured Colohan’s third goal to cap her hat trick in the 73rd minute. Colohan cut onto her right from point blank and slotted the ball into the right side netting, giving blue the 5-2 lead. The scrimmage ended with blue winning 5-2.

Our three takeaways from the scrimmage:

1. BYU’s attacking mindset appears unchanged. Despite losing leading goal scorer Elise Flake and assist leader Lizzy Braby, BYU’s attack has plenty of options going forward. Shepherd and Colohan come back to anchor the midfield, with UCLA transfer Brecken Mozingo joining them. Mozingo and Shepherd were club teammates, winning many state titles and even a national title in 2019. Colohan will be the Cougars main play maker.

Coach Rockwood pushed Wade up to the front line, where she can replace Flake’s goal-scoring prowess. She and Mozingo will likely alternate roles between forward and midfield. She joins Tucker up front, with Freshman Abbie Kotter on the flank as well. SJ Affleck did not play in the scrimmage, but if available in spring will be a contributor. Sophomore Rachel McCarthy can also be expected to be a threat coming off the bench for the Cougars.

2. BYU’s defensive turnover. BYU has the difficult task of replacing a back line that allowed just 16 goals in 23 matches in 2019. Alyssa Jefferson, Danika Serassio, Rachel Bingham Lyman, and Sabrina Davis were all stalwarts on the 2019 squad. Replacing them has brought in transfers Grace Johnson(Ole Miss) and Natalee Wells(Utah), and given opportunity to Cassidy Smith and Laveni Vaka. Kendall Petersen can also see some time in defense this season, although in 2019 she came off the bench as a midfielder. Josie Guinn Gelalich is the lone returning starter.

The depth could be concerning for the Cougars. Surprisingly, graduate Serassio made an appearance for the black team which makes us wonder whether Rockwood invited her for fun, or whether there may be some depth issues at the position.

3. BYU should be in a tight race again for a WCC Title. Fans will remember BYU’s 2019 season for their dominance, but may not realize how close Santa Clara was behind the Cougars in the WCC race. A draw with Portland was the difference for the Cougars beating out the Broncos, with just two points giving the Cougars the title outright. BYU had two tight overtime matches in 2019, including the draw vs Santa Clara, as well as a late win at San Francisco. BYU will need to be just as consistent in the coming season in order to retain the title outright.