We obviously have to put (in) the final touch because all of that hard work doesn’t matter unless you reward yourself with scoring a goal. —BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood
PROVO — There's expected growing pains to be had when a team loses most of its prime offensive players, and the BYU women's soccer team showed a lot of those pains during Monday's scoreless draw with Ohio State.
Although the team showed good improvement in some areas, coaches and players always went back to the glaring zero put up on the scoreboard.
“We obviously have to put (in) the final touch because all of that hard work doesn’t matter unless you reward yourself with scoring a goal,” said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. “So I saw a lot of good things tonight, but I just think we have to be better. We have to get better.”
The Cougars managed 18 shots to Ohio State's 15 on the night, but had four shots on goal to the Buckeyes' one.
As mentioned, a lot of the failed chances can be chalked up to just inexperience and from trying to replace so many prime players from last year's team. Gone are standouts such as Ashley Hatch, Michele Vasconcelos and Elena Medeiros, with several younger players asked to help replace 2016's potent frontline.
While some growing pains may have been expected, there is some sense of urgency, with the Cougars managing just two goals three games into the season.
“I don’t think we expected it to take this long,” said senior defender Taylor Isom. “We have some great players, and some people kind of hid under the shadows of Ashley and (Vasconcelos) to shine, so I think they’re having to adjust and they’re young players. So you’ve got to give them the benefit of the doubt.”
As for Isom and the defense, they provided a solid effort throughout, which is to be expected when drawing upon the returning experience of players such as Stephanie Ney and Alyssa Jefferson.
“I thought defensively we were really solid,” Rockwood said. “We didn’t give up too many looks.”
BYU did have some good looks throughout the match, with a few chances going just wide and one ricocheting hard off the post. Sophomore forward Lizzy Braby led the Cougars in shots, with six attempted, and almost connected on one of the near chances.
“We’re just having a hard time finding the rhythm, but we will get it," said Braby of converting the scoring chances available.
Along with improving scoring opportunities, Rockwood also hopes to see better emotion, going forward.
“We have to find some emotional leaders on the field that will carry the team,” Rockwood said. “It’s a new group — certainly a new attacking group — and it’s going to be a process.”
That process continues Friday when BYU hosts Cal State Fullerton on the newly-surfaced South Field, which has received rave reviews from the players.
“It’s amazing. It’s really nice. It’s flat and it’s nice grass,” Isom said. “And then the fans make it an incredible environment. There’s nothing like playing at home.”
The match against Cal State Fullerton begins at 7 p.m. MST and will be broadcast live on ESPN 960.