BYU women's soccer: Cougars blank Weber State in opening round of NCAA tournament
PROVO — The last time BYU faced Weber State in the NCAA women’s soccer tournament, in 2005, the Cougars and Wildcats ended regulation play in a tie.
BYU ended up falling to Weber State in a shootout defeat.
On a chilly Friday night before a crowd of 1,897 at South Field in a first-round NCAA tournament showdown, the Cougars made sure that the outcome didn't come down to penalty kicks this time.
BYU dominated the Wildcats, 4-0, to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The West Coast Conference-champion Cougars took control of the game early on, as just eight minutes into the match an own goal by Weber State off a corner kick gave them a quick 1-0 advantage. Wildcat goalkeeper Ryann Waldman inadvertently knocked the ball into her own net.
“It kind of breaks the ice a little bit and it helped us settle down,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said of that goal. “On the sideline, we were saying we were due to score off a corner kick. We’ve had a lot this year.”
In the 31st minute, Niki Fernandes passed the ball to junior Jaiden Thornock, who booted a beautiful shot across the field to the far post to put the Cougars up 2-0.
“I saw the ball bounce up and I controlled it, and I got my shot off,” said Thornock, who had entered the game just moments earlier. “That’s what my job is as a forward, to get my shot off. That was mindset going into the game and luckily it fell my way and I was able to get that shot off. My teammates opened the field up for me in order to do that.”
At that point, BYU had Weber State on the ropes.
“It’s always good when you can get a couple of goals in the back of the net to settle the game down,” Thornock said.
The Cougars added a pair of goals in the second half. Colette Jepson Smith scored in the 52nd minute, and Ella Johnson scored on a penalty kick in the 67th minute.
In all, BYU had 19 shots on goal, compared to just six by Weber State.
“We didn’t play as poorly as the final score indicated,” said Wildcat coach Tim Crompton. “It’s disappointing for sure. It’s disappointing that our season ended tonight.”
Weber State, the Big Sky Conference tournament champions, finished the season with a 10-5-5 record.
BYU improved to 15-4-1 on the season and will continue on to the second round of the NCAA tournament next weekend.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 15-0-1 all time against Weber State.
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