Playing its second-straight ranked team, the Utah State soccer team fought hard but fell to No. 12 BYU, 1-0, at Chuck and Gloria Field Thursday afternoon in front of a season-high 1,210 fans. An early Cougar goal was the only score of the match.
The Aggies fall to 5-2-3 this season, having gone three-straight matches without a win after two ties and a loss.
Utah State is now 0-10-0 all-time against BYU with two-straight 1-0 losses to the Cougars. This season, USU is now 0-1-1 against ranked teams with a 1-1 tie against No. 23 Washington on Sept. 23. With the win, BYU is now 9-1-0 this year and has won six-straight matches.
Both teams are ranked in the West Region. The Cougars are ranked first and the Aggies hold the ninth spot.
USU is one of only four teams to only allow one goal to BYU. The Cougars are 3-0-0 against ranked teams, including 3-1 wins against No. 6 Penn State and No. 23 Washington.
"In the first 15 or 20 minutes we came out jittery. We came out not playing our best, and they made us pay for that," USU head coach Heather Cairns said. "They went up 1-0 and after that I was really proud of the way the team played. I thought we settled down. I thought that we created some chances; I thought we limited possession on them. We limited what they could do in the attack. It didn't pay off for us. I am really proud of where our team is. I will say it again; this is the best soccer that we have been playing. If we can play this quality soccer against the No. 12 team in the country than we have a great future."
The Cougar attack wasted no time pressuring the Utah State backline with two quick shots by Cloee Colohan and Jessica Ringwood. BYU had five shots in the first nine minutes before finally finding the back of the net. In the tenth minute, Dana Oldroyd Cusick scored her second goal of the season and put BYU up 1-0 with a 30-yard firecracker that USU senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford could track down.
After the BYU goal, the Aggies were able to settle down. Freshman defender Lexie Henrie and junior forward Mari Miyashiro fired off the first shots of the half for Utah State. Junior defender Jessica Hoskin provided the only corner kick of the half as USU began to find its rhythm.
The half ended with the Cougars clinging to a 1-0 lead. In the first half, BYU out-shot Utah State, 8-2. The Aggies had two saves to none for the Cougars.
In the second half, play was much more even. Hoskin, junior defender Jackie Tillotson and junior midfielder Jennifer Flynn all had shots in the 15 minutes of the second half.
Despite the second-half pressure the Aggies put on the Cougars, USU was not able to find the back of the net. The second-half shots were tied 5-5 as the Aggies never stopped attacking.
In the 87th minute, sophomore Taryn Rose committed a foul. On the direct kick, Ringwood launched a shot that hit the post. Once the Aggies survived that play, BYU played keep away to round out the match.
"I thought that we played really, really well today. We came out as a team with purpose," senior defender Natalie Norris said. "We came out at the beginning a little nervous, playing the No. 12 team in the nation. It kind of got to us the first 20 minutes. After that we fought hard and took it to them, we played a good game."
Utah State will complete its three-match homestand on Sunday, Sept. 23 against Wyoming at 1 p.m.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.