It was such a big women's soccer game, BYU officials actually brought over the cannon normally reserved for football games.

Perched in the corner Friday, it provided a quick pre-game stun for a massive crowd at South Field.

The final bang came with 2:34 left when Ashley Hatch converted on a penalty kick for a 1-0 win.

"It was a big event," BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said, understated in a sense.

The decision came in front of a school-record 5,402 fans that were standing-room only basically all around the field. At one point, a BYU official with "risk management" etched on his school shirt warned some athletic department officials that it wasn't a good thing that some young fans were standing on top of chairs, behind both teams' benches. on the other side of the fence, mind you.

It turned the place into a fire hazard.

BYU pulled one out of the fire, so to speak. After losing last year at Utah 1-0 — though several Cougars downplayed the revenge aspect — the Cougars still couldn't find the back of the net despite significantly better chances. It was a 7-1 shots advantage in the first half, 14-5 overall, but both Erica Owens (BYU) and Cheyanne Mulcock made some magnificent saves along the way.

What appeared to be the game's biggest break swung Utah's way.

Jaiden Thornock was issued her second yellow card at 28:30 left, letting the Utes play with an extra player the rest of the game.

Thornock left the field in disgust and several teammates and coaches didn't know exactly what had happened when she was carded near midfield after some grappling for a loose ball.

But apparently what goes around, came around, when Hatch couldn't convert in the goalie area after a BYU corner kick. Mulcock was deemed to have shoved Hatch, setting up the PK. It came because of the ultimate penalty shot awarded on a yellow card.

"I went to poke the ball in, and as I tried to get back up — she just kind of shoved me down," Hatch said, smiling. "It's all part of the game."

Rockwood could've chosen any of her players, but stuck with her freshman...in the closing minutes...of a rivalry game.

"We practice those quite a bit and Ashley's taken a lot of those," Rockwood said of the Arizona native. "She doesn't play like a freshman. She knew if we had that chance, it was going to be hers."

So is a measure of revenge. BYU lost, 1-0, last year in Salt Lake City after a fairly similar game. The Cougars dominated the shot chart but never could find their range. It would be their only loss of the regular season before advancing all the way to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Rockwood credited her "back four" this time for a stellar defensive showing that kept Utah struggling to find shots, even after it had a player advantage.

"It's amazing," Hatch said. "Hard work pays off."

She poked an easy shot to her right side, low to the ground, as the keeper went the other way.

BYU improved to 19-6-1 against the Utes, perhaps a bit one-sided to warrant a heavy student section storming the field right after the final horn.

"It's my 12th year and every game's been something," Utah coach Rich Manning said. It's always a good hard-fought game when these teams meet. We really cherish the games."

jason-franchuk
-- Jason Franchuk covers primarily BYU football and basketball for the Daily Herald. You can follow him on Twitter, @HarkTheFranchuk.
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