An offensive battle was decided by a game-winning goal in the 54th minute in a 3-2 exhibition match win for the Cougars against the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday evening at South Field.
Back from her 18-month mission, junior defender Paige Hunt took a pass from Nadia Gomes and buried a shot in the back of the net past keeper Lainey Burdett for BYU's third goal of the night.
“It’s always good to start out the season with a win,” head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “It was a really tough battle and Arizona was a tough team to play. We rarely give up that many shots on our goal, but we scored three goals. We just have to clean our defense up a little bit and we’ll be ready to go.”
On the defensive end, junior goalkeeper Rachel Boaz had eight saves at the end of the night for the Cougars, including a diving save in the 84th minute to keep the lead. Despite the high pressure from Arizona, the Cougars were able to make big defensive plays to secure the win.
Two early goals for the Cougars gave BYU a 2-1 lead at halftime. Junior forward Ashley Hatch scored the first goal for the Cougars in the 15th minute. Midfielder Elena Medeiros received a pass from Jocelyn Loomis and found Hatch on the left side. Hatch sent a hard, low pass to the right just out of reach of Arizona keeper Rachel Estopare.
BYU’s second goal came courtesy of a cross from sophomore Madie Lyons in the 36th minute. Lyons took the free kick from the left sideline and found Brittain Dearden’s head after both players had just subbed in.
Arizona’s Lexe Selman had the first goal for the Wildcats in the 44th minute after a deflection from Boaz. The second goal for the Wildcats came from Laura Pimienta in the 49th off a corner kick.
The Cougars head to Hawaii next week to play in the Outrigger Resorts Soccer Classic. They play California on Friday, August 21 at 4:30 p.m. HST. The game will be broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network and ESPN 960 AM.