A second half goal from Nadia Gomes gave No. 6 BYU women’s soccer a 1-0 away victory over Gonzaga on Thursday.
The Cougars (9-1-1, 1-0-0) found the goal in the 70th minute to come away with a road win to begin West Coast Conference play against the Bulldogs (1-6-4, 0-1-0).
Gomes first touched the ball inside midfield and dribbled to the top of the box finding Michele Murphy Vasconcelos just outside the area. Vasconcelos played back to Gomes freeing her from the two center backs and springing her for an open look on goal. Gomes put it on the left side past Gonzaga’s goalkeeper for the 1-0 lead.
The goal was Gomes’ third of the year, and it was Vasconcelos’ third assist of the year. Vasconcelos has assisted on the last three-consecutive goals for the Cougars.
"Every single game is for a conference championship," BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "Gonzaga did a great job of making us play back to goal. At half, I challenged them that everyone has to be responsible for making something happen and they came out with more emotion."
BYU goalkeeper Rachel Boaz made four saves in goal, and the Cougar defense recorded its eighth shutout of the season.
In the first half, BYU put three shots on goal, and for the game the Cougars took 18 shots total. Nine of them were on goal. Bizzy Phillips led the team with six shots from her central midfield spot, while Vasconcelos found five opportunities, Elena Medeiros three, Gomes two and Jocelyn Loomis two.
BYU forward Ashley Hatch had her consecutive starts streak broken as she will miss the next month with a small knee fracture. Hatch had played every game of her BYU career. The last time Hatch didn't start for the Cougars was the final game of 2012 against North Carolina.
In other starting lineup changes, Sarah Chambers Gardner made her first start of the season after starting each game last year. Madie Lyons made her first career start and played 63 minutes for the Cougars in replacing Hatch.
BYU continues on the road facing Portland on Saturday at 7 p.m. PDT. The game can be seen on TheW.tv and heard on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, ESPN 960 AM, BYU Radio and Sirius XM 143.