Anytime you can beat your rival, it’s a huge game for us. Utah got us last year and we were anxious to have another opportunity. —BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood
PROVO — With no football game scheduled between the two rivals this year, Friday night’s women’s soccer game between Utah and BYU was the big event of the fall for the two schools as a record crowd of 5,620 jammed into South Field to see which school could claim bragging rights.
It turned out to be BYU as the No. 9-ranked Cougars put two early goals on the board and held off some good chances by the Utes for a 2-0 victory.
For the Cougars (4-0), it marked their fourth 2-0 victory of the season and for the fourth time they scored in the opening 16 minutes of the game to grab the early momentum.
“Anytime you can beat your rival, it’s a huge game for us,’’ said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. “Utah got us last year and we were anxious to have another opportunity. What a great environment for college soccer — the fans were phenomenal. It wasn’t easy, but we gutted it out.’’
BYU had scored in the ninth minute against Cal, the 13th minute against Colorado and the 16th minute against Nebraska and did it again against Utah.
The Cougars scored in the 14th minute when Maddie Siddoway, a freshman from Sky View High, put the Cougars on the board with a long shot from the right side into the far post just above the outstretched hands of Ute goalkeeper Lindsey Luke. Bizzy Phillips and Paige Hunt assisted on the goal.
“I was kind of the pickup girl in the back and was able to get a shot around to the far side,’’ Siddoway said. “It felt good to see it go in the back of the net for sure.’’
Rockwood said her team makes a point of trying to get on the board as early as possible.
“That’s always our goal — we challenge the girls to see how early can we score and I thought we brought a lot of energy and attacked in the first half,’’ she said.
Rockwood was especially happy to see Siddoway get her first goal in her freshman season.
“I was so excited for Sid to come in as a freshman and earn a starting spot and score her first collegiate goal against Utah,’’ she said. “I’m sure she won’t forget that one.’’
The Cougars scored again in the 22nd minute when Nadia Gomes, a sophomore from Brighton High, scored off a free kick from 20 yards out. Her shot actually ricocheted off one of the Ute defenders on the wall and Luke had no chance at it.
Utah coach Rich Manning, who saw his team fall to 2-2-1 on the season, thought his team played well and matched up with BYU for the most part.
“They were clinical in front of the goal with their chances and we weren’t with ours,’’ Manning said. “I thought we created at least as many chances as they did, but they just finished better than we did. The difference in the game was that they finished and we didn’t.’’
Both teams head to California now as Utah will play at the University of San Diego on Sunday, while BYU has a big match Monday night at second-ranked Stanford.