September 22, 2017
Despite a 1-0 halftime lead on Utah Valley, the BYU women’s soccer team was having a bit of an identity crisis.
The Cougars rebounded with an excellent second half on Friday, scoring two more goals and controlling the action in a 3-0 Crosstown Clash victory in front of 3,334 fans at a chilly and slippery South Field.
“The first half was pretty ugly,” said BYU senior midfielder Bizzy Bowen, who scored one of the second half goals. “They (UVU) out-possessed us and we were kind of on our heels a bit. We weren’t exactly sure what we were doing with the game plan.
“In the second half we got together. The coaches talked to us, we talked to each other and we were able to come out and execute. We were moving for each other and playing our two-touch. Things opened up and we were able to go to goal.”
BYU (3-4-3) managed that 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. A Utah Valley foul just outside the penalty area and right of the goal gave the Cougars a free kick. Nadia Gomes – who scored two goals in Monday’s win against Kansas – took the left-footed free kick from about 25 yards.
“I’ve been practicing my free kicks a lot,” Gomes said. “It was perfect set up, so I just bent it. I told myself, ‘I’m going to bend it.’”
That’s exactly what Gomes did, ripping a shot that bent inside the far corner for a 1-0 BYU lead.
Utah Valley (3-8-0) actually dominated possession in the first half and outshot the Cougars six to three. BYU’s Hannah Clark was credited with three saves in the first half.
“They (UVU) definitely outplayed us in first half, no question about it,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We came out and didn’t do what we know are our strengths. We played away from our strengths. In the second half we went back to what we’re good at and it made a big difference.
“That is playing in our two-touch rhythm and playing the ball wide to let our forwards run at the goal. I thought we caused lot of problems that way in the second half and we were a lot more dangerous as well.”
In the 55th minute, freshman Elise Flake chased a ball down on the sideline in the UVU scoring third. Flake deked past a defender and slammed a shot from inside the 18 to the far post for a 2-0 BYU lead.
Just four minutes later, the Cougars tacked on a third goal. Bowen and Avery Walker worked a give-and-go, and Bowen’s shot was partially deflected by a UVU defender inside the near post.
“Give a lot of credit to UVU, they came out fire,” Rockwood said. “They were beating us to some balls and we were fortunate we scored a nice early goal. But I think sometimes you score an early goal and let down little bit. I thought that’s what happened to us.
“In the second half we turned it on. Our midfield was able to control the game a little bit more and that led to our forwards getting some more opportunities.”
BYU will open West Coast Conference play next Friday at South Field against San Diego.