PROVO There's nothing like playing at home and BYU took full advantage of its home field to put the brakes on a three-game losing streak, all of which came on the road.
With the support of 2,071 energetic fans, the Cougars attacked relentlessly Saturday night and came away with a 2-0 win over a visiting Idaho State, a team that claims 10 players from Utah high schools.
BYU (4-4) was also without leading scorer and team leader Katie Larkin, who broke a bone in her hand earlier in the week. Larkin is expected back for the Cougars' next game against Miami on Tuesday.
The Cougars consistently pressured the Bengals' defense throughout the first half and finally got a solid scoring opportunity when they were awarded a penalty kick 25 yards away from the goal. The penalty kick was deflected by the Idaho State goalie, but Whitney Feller attacked the deflected ball deep in the box and kicked it through the goal to give BYU the 1-0 lead and all the scoring it would need with only 12:29 remaining before halftime.
Jennie Marshall followed that goal with one of her own just minutes later. Kassidy Christensen dribbled deep into the box, pulling the goalie over toward the side of the goal before shooting. The shot was blocked, but Marshall kicked the rebound in for the 2-0 BYU lead.
"Whitney gets her first goal and Jennie gets her first goal," said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. "That's big for us. We need some more people who can score goals. Also, with the amount of opportunities we had to score, we should have put some more in. We made a step, but we still have more steps to make ahead of us."
The Cougars outshot the Bengals 27-9 for the game including five shots each by Lauren Anderson and Christensen and three by Becca Riddle and Karen Cook.
"We had some really good opportunities, so we need to continue to work on putting those things on frame," said Rockwood. "Becca had a lot of good opportunities and she's got to be able to put that ball on frame. She could have had two or three goals tonight."
Six of the nine shots taken by Idaho State (2-4-1) were from Utah products. Ellen Larsen (Murray High) took two shots while Alex Hansen (Mountain Crest), Kilee Quigley (Cottonwood), Karissa Henage (Springville), and Crosby Joyner (Springville) each took a shot.
"We worked hard and stuck to our game plan the first 20 or 25 minutes and then we got a little winded and let them come in and attack us," said Idaho State coach Allison Gibson. "When you let that happen, the wheels are going to fall off just a little bit."
Despite the loss, Gibson was clearly enthusiastic about soccer in Utah.
"I've been with the Olympic Development Program for the last seven years," said Gibson. "There are fourteen states in that region and Utah's been right around the top. No one's ever going to go above California, but second and third is usually Washington and Utah for really developing overall talent within the whole state."
UTAH VALLEY 3, SUU 2: At Cedar City, Adrienne Schneider helped the Wolverines (4-0-1) remain undefeated by scoring in the 58th minute on a Katey Turner assist when she fired a shot into the high corner from about 23 yards out.
Jennifer Lohner and Kendra Buchanan also scored for the Wolverines, who continued the longest undefeated streak, seven games, in UVU's school history.
Utah Valley scored the first goal of the game, in the 20th minute, when Lohner recorded her third goal of the season on the first of two Turner assists.
Southern Utah (0-4-0) tied it up just 32 seconds later when Shaley Ipson-Allen scored on a cross from Jennifer Johnson.
The T-Birds took the lead in the 34th minute when Stacey Brinkman followed a rebound on a shot from Kelsey Buchanan, the sister of UVU's Kendra Buchanan.