PROVO — After surrendering an early goal, six different players scored as the No. 19 BYU women’s soccer team defeated Saint Mary’s, 6-1, on Saturday at South Field to clinch a share of the conference title for the second consecutive year.
"It was a fantastic game," head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "There was a lot of pressure on us and we knew the importance of the game. We got off to a great start even though we gave up a goal early. Today was completely a team effort and we were able to put away a big win for a conference championship.
Four of the six goals were scored by seniors on Senior Day for the Cougars, who were presented with the West Coast Conference Championship trophy immediately following the game.
Niki Fernandes had a goal and two assists to lead the Cougars. Cloee Colohan and Ashley Hatch each scored their sixth goals of the season. BYU finished with 27 shots and six corner kicks. Saint Mary’s had three shots and no corners.
"You always want to score on your senior day," Colohan said. "It's awesome. It couldn't have been a better season."
The Gaels struck first with a goal from forward Briana Campos in the seventh minute, Saint Mary’s first shot of the game. Campos received a through ball from defender Casidee Lynch that split the BYU defense. Her sliding shot from just outside the box snuck past a diving Erica Owens.
The Cougars equalized in the 12th minute with Fernandes’ third goal of the season. Marissa Nimmer’s corner kick bounced around the box and was headed by Hatch across the goal to Fernandes, which she headed in past the Gaels keeper. It was Hatch's seventh assist of the season.
Colohan gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead in the 25th minute. Colette Jepson Smith recorded her second assist of the season when her cross from the right corner hit a streaking Colohan just in front of goalkeeper Kaeli Schmidt. Colohan put it away for her sixth goal of the season.
BYU extended its lead to 3-1 in the 31st minute when Sarah Chambers scored her first goal of the season. Schmidt stopped but couldn’t corral a shot from the top of the box by Fernandes, and Chambers found the back of the net on the rebound.
Hatch's sixth goal of the season gave BYU a 4-1 lead in the 58th minute. Her strike from just outside the box was assisted by Nimmer.
The Cougars got their fifth goal of the game in the 67th minute from Rachel Manning when she scored off a corner kick from Fernandes. It was Fernandes’ second assist of the game.
Angelica Dickson Adam’s cross found Kyleigh Royall in the box, and Royall’s goal gave the Cougars a 6-1 lead.
The Cougars await Monday’s NCAA Tournament Selection Show, which will announce their spot in the tournament and their next game. The Selection Show will be streamed on NCAA.com at 2:30 p.m. MST.
Justin Green is the sports information director over men's track and cross country for BYU Athletic Communications. He is a BYU student majoring in public relations and minoring in business and will graduate in April 2013. Email: justinjgreen8@gmail.