STEVE C WILSON,
PROVO — In last year’s outstanding 20-2-2 season that included a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals, the BYU women’s soccer team lost just one regular-season game, dropping a 1-0 contest to rival Utah in Salt Lake.
The Cougars have a chance to avenge that defeat Friday night at South Field when they face the Utes at 7 p.m. A sellout crowd of more than 5,000 is expected.
Both teams come into the game unbeaten as the Cougars have steamrolled three opponents by a combined 10-3 score, while the Utes have yet to allow a goal this year with a win and two draws.
The Cougars, who lost an overtime game to North Carolina in the NCAA quarterfinals, are ranked No. 6 in the nation this year and are coming off a 4-2 road win over No. 25 LSU.
Rachel Manning has scored three goals for the Cougars this year, while Ashley Hatch scored two. Colette Jepson Smith, Cloee Colohan, Paige Hunt and Elena Medeiros each have a goal and an assist. Goalie Erica Owens has nine saves in goal.
While the Cougars are a more wide-open offensive team, Utah relies on its defense. Goalkeeper Lindsey Luke has made 14 saves on the season and allowed no goals in 310 minutes of action. She has gotten a lot of help from the back line of Jill Robison, Monica Okapal, Megan Trabert and Jenny Hutton.
Baylee Nielsen has scored both goals for the Utes this year, while Avery Ford, Jill Robison and Ali Forsberg each have assists.
Both teams have played Cal State Fullerton, with BYU winning 3-1 and Utah drawing 0-0 in a two-overtime game.
After Friday’s game, the Utes return home to play Southern Utah in what will be the first of eight straight home games into early October.
BYU will play at Oregon next week before returning home to play Cal Irvine.
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