For the second time in nine days the BYU women's soccer team welcomed a ranked opponent to South Field.
And for the second time, the Cougars sent the visitors home with a loss.
In an incredibly exciting contest in front of the largest crowd ever to watch a soccer game there (4,922), BYU made huge plays at both ends of the field to get the 3-1 victory over No. 6-ranked Penn State.
"We knew we had to come out strong because Penn State is a great team," said Cougar head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "They have so much talent and experience on the field. We wanted to put the pressure on right away."
BYU — who knocked off No. 11 Long Beach State in Provo on Aug. 30 — sent a message in the early going that it wouldn't be intimidated, striking first in the 14th minute of play. Cougar sophomore forward Jaiden Thornock dropped in beautiful cross right to the feet of senior midfielder Jessica Ringwood, who buried it in the lower right corner of the goal.
"We knew they were playing with three in the back, so the center of the goal would be open," Ringwood explained. "I knew the wings would cross it in and we'd get numbers into the box. I was just lucky to be the one to finish."
The visiting Nittany Lions, however, wouldn't go away easily and rallied to get the equalizer 16 minutes later. Penn State freshman Mallory Weber outfought a couple of Cougar defenders on a 30-yard run that resulted in her putting the ball in.
That set the stage for the biggest play of the night.
With the score tied, the Nittany Lions worked the ball deep in BYU territory and got an excellent laser of a shot from sophomore Kindrah Kohne from the top of the box.
It appeared headed into the net but Cougar junior goalkeeper Erica Owens lunged and got just enough of it to push it off the side post and out.
"(Owens) was outstanding today," Rockwood said. "Penn State is so dangerous and we tried to stay in front so they couldn't turn and face, but they still got some good looks. Fortunately we were able to hold on."
Owens said it was all reaction but that she "didn't want to let the team down."
Nittany Lion head coach Erica Walsh said those are the plays that make the sport so much fun.
"That's why you play the game," she said. "That was a fun women's soccer game between two great teams. I'm just thrilled we were able to be a part of it. I give 100 percent of the credit to BYU. They beat us tonight."
The game still remained deadlocked until midway through the second half. That was when the home team was able to break through twice in two minutes to take control.
The first came on another perfect cross, this one from BYU senior forward Carlee Payne Holmoe, that landed right where Ringwood could put it away again.
The senior called being the player to score twice in a game like that "crazy" and said words couldn't describe the feeling.
Holmoe did it again two minutes later, lofting a deep cross to freshman forward Michele Murphy. Initially the ball looked to have gone too long, but Murphy lunged at it and popped it up perfectly to double the BYU advantage.
Penn State tried to rally but Owens had another incredible save on a shot from point-blank range, then also stood tall when Penn State was awarded a late penalty kick and watched the shot sail wide.
All of the players and coaches from both teams lauded the presence of the fans, saying the crowd made a huge difference.
"The crowd was a 12th man for them," Walsh said. "(Rockwood) has worked hard to create that atmosphere and the community has responded."
Owens said: "The crowd was what brought the game home. That created an electric atmosphere and that's what helped us win."
BYU improved to 6-1 overall and now prepares to host a dangerous Cal Poly team on Sept. 13.