PROVO — The BYU women’s soccer team has pretty much dominated its series with Utah over the years, compiling an all-time mark of 21-7-1 and winning seven of the last 10 meetings.
However, when the two rivals meet Friday night at South Field at 7 p.m., the Cougars won’t be considered the favorites for a change.
Although it’s just early September, the Cougars already have as many losses as they had all of last season when they went 18-3-1 and made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament. Also, the Cougars have yet to win and come into the annual contest with the Utes with a record of 0-3-2.
Meanwhile, Utah has a team that is ranked in the top 25 at No. 21 and is 4-1 after losing for the first time last week at Loyola Marymount. The Utes will be looking to beat BYU for the first time since 2014 and the first time in Provo since 2007.
After losing nearly 75 percent of their scoring from last year’s excellent team, the Cougars are having a hard time finding the net, scoring just two goals all season, one by senior Avery Walker and the other by freshman Cameron Tucker
Following a loss to another Pac-12 school, 3-0 at Colorado on Monday, coach Jennifer Rockwood said, "It's humbling and a learning experience. We've got to score goals, it's as simple as that. But we have a great group of girls who are anxious and wanting to fight."
The Cougars are hoping to get some scoring from senior forward Nadia Gomes, who was the WCC Player of the Year in 2015 and was second on the team in assists last year with 15. Other top players on this year’s young team include sophomore forward Elise Flake, freshman midfielder Mikayla Colohan, sophomore midfielder Bizzy Bowen, senior forward Madie Lyons Matthews, senior defender Taylor Isom, sophomore defender Alyssa Jefferson and senior defender Stephanie Ney. Goalkeeper Hannah Clark has 16 saves and has allowed eight goals on the season
The Utes come into the game with a 4-1 mark, their only loss coming last week when they failed to score in a 1-0 loss at Loyola. The Utes bounced back two days later to beat Cal Fullerton 2-1, a team that BYU tied this season.
Junior forward Hailey Skolmoski, an all-Pac-12 player a year ago when she scored 13 goals, has six goals already on the season for the Utes, while Paola Van der Veen, a junior from The Netherlands, has five goals and two assists.
Other top Ute players include senior forward Natalie Vukic, junior midfielder Eden Jacobsen, sophomore defender Aleea Gwerder, sophomore midfielder Holly Daugirda and sophomore defender Haylee Cacciacarne.
Carly Nelson, a sophomore from Timpanogos High, is the U. goalkeeper and she has seven saves on the year while allowing just three goals.
Friday’s contest will be the first of the season-long Deseret First Duel between the two schools which is entering its 11th year. Next up for Utah is a game at No. 11 Duke on Monday, while BYU will play at Oregon State Monday.