PROVO For the second time in a week, the BYU women's soccer team met up with an undefeated team and came away with a win.
Earlier in the week, the Cougars faced a 7-0 Miami team that was ranked 19th and pulled out a 1-0 win on the road. On Friday night, the opponent was 8-0 Michigan State at friendly South Field, and this time the result was a 2-0 victory over a tough Big Ten team.
"Obviously this is a really big week for us," said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. "I'm very proud of the girls. We had some disappointments early on (in the season), but hopefully we learned from them.
"We probably wouldn't be playing the formation and some of the people had we not gone through them. Hopefully it's making us a better team."
The Cougars (6-4) scored first after Michigan State was called for a penalty 30 yards straight out from the goal in the 31st minute. On the free kick, Kelsea Kakadelas softly passed the ball to Andrea Willis, who kicked a laser to the top left corner of the goal to hand BYU a 1-0 lead.
In the 71st minute, a tough call went against the Cougars when Jessica Carter received a red card after she inadvertently tripped a Spartan player from behind as she was racing the keeper to the ball. The red card put the Cougars down a player and automatically means Carter will have to sit out BYU's next game against Cal.
"It's an unfortunate call from my view," said Rockwood. "We're going to miss Jess in the Cal game now, and that's a huge loss for us."
With a one player advantage, Michigan State began attacking, but it backfired when the Cougars cleared the ball to midfield where the lone Cougar offensive player, freshman Jennie Marshall, tipped the ball up over two defenders and raced toward the goal. As the keeper came out to meet her, Marshall kicked the ball just inside the far right post for the score and the 2-0 lead.
"When she first took that touch and popped it over that girl's head, I didn't think she was going to get to it," said teammate Andrea Willis, "Honestly, her putting that away when we're a man down just solidifies our win. That was a life-saver for us."
"Jennie did a great job," said Rockwood. "We kept her up because we know how dangerous she's proven to be. It was a great goal that certainly helped solidify the win for us. She's done it a hundred times. She was the leading goal-scorer in northern California this last year."
The Cougars' next game is in northern California on Thursday, when they'll take on the Cal Bears.