PROVO — The No.3-ranked BYU women’s soccer team dominated the stat sheet in all areas, other than the only one that ultimately counts, settling for a scoreless tie versus Santa Clara on Thursday.
It was the West Coast Conference opener for the Cougars, and although the final result wasn't ideal, BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood came away enthused and encouraged with her team's overall play.
"I thought we played an outstanding game. I was so impressed with how we played," Rockwood said. "...Obviously we wanted three points (for the win), but we got one (with the tie.) So it's not what we aimed to do, but as far as our goal of getting better with each game ... I thought we were really good tonight."
The final stat sheet went strongly in BYU's direction, with the Cougars out-shooting the Broncos 16-3 and dominating possession throughout the match.
Rockwood's squad started fast and finished with a flurry of opportunities right before the first-half break. Their best two chances came when Lizzy Braby just missed connecting on a header off a cross from Madie Siddoway at the 41:30 mark. Then, just a minute and half later, Elena Madeiros’ had her attempt sail just right of the target. The Cougars outshot the Broncos 7-1 in the first half, but only one of those shots was on frame.
Rockwood was greatly pleased with the first half effort, despite the lack of goals.
“Those first 45 minutes were the best 45 minutes I believe we’ve played all year,” Rockwood said.
The second half was largely a reprise of the first, although BYU managed perhaps even more scoring opportunities for itself.
The Cougars’ best chance came at the 78th minute, when a wide-open Michele Vasconcelos had her shot blocked with a diving save. Other prime opportunities squandered came with Nadia Gomes just missing the frame to the right at the 67th minute and Jocelyn Loomis just missing a header over the crossbar just prior to Vasconcelos’ prime opportunity.
Turning BYU back was outstanding play from Santa Clara goalie Melissa Lowder.
"She did a great job," Rockwood said. "We had some good looks and you know, we've got to finish."
Equally good was BYU goalie Hannah Clark and the Cougars' overall defense that worked well to minimize Santa Clara's opportunities.
"Collectively our defense was really solid and our midfield really controlled things," Rockwood said.
The two 10-minute overtime periods followed suit, with the frustrated Cougars unable to convert, coming away with an unsatisfying scoreless tie.
With the tie BYU moves its record to 9-1-1 on the season and 0-0-1 in WCC play. Santa Clara comes away from Provo with a 3-4-4 record and largely pleased with the one point earned against the Cougars.
Next up for BYU is a home match against San Francisco on Monday.
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