The good news for the No. 22 BYU women's soccer team from Monday night's home opener against Washington State is that the inexperienced defense and new goalkeepers combined to secure a clean sheet against an athletic, talented WSU attack.
The bad news was that the Washington State defense was able to say the same.
Neither set of Cougars could find a way to get on the board in 90 minutes of regulation or the two 10-minute overtime periods, resulting in a 0-0 draw.
“I thought we did some really nice things and I thought we came out really strong in the second half and had some good opportunities,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We just didn’t reward ourselves with the good attack in the early stages of the second half.”
While BYU would've loved to give the 2,200 fans in attendence something to cheer about, it was pleased with how well the defense performed.
"Our defense held strong," Rockwood said. "That's a goal of ours to keep a shutout. I'm proud of how we held the ball but we just fell short on the offensive end."
Senior defender Annie Amos said she liked how the backline was able to maintain its composure.
"For the defense, it's a huge accomplishment to be able keep a zero on the board," Amos said. "As rough as it is to get a tie, it's nice knowing you did your job as a defense."
Rockwood praised Amos's performance, saying she was "phenomenal."
Amos said the big key was making sure everyone did their job.
"We wanted to try and keep control as much as possible," she said. "We didn't want to give them good looks and we wanted to keep the ball in front of us."
Washington State took a lot of shots and had a number of corner kicks, but only had a couple of chances that were really threatening.
One shot in the first half from near the top of the box was brought down by senior keeper Kathrine Snyder, while another attempt was deflected by Snyder enough to allow the defense to clear the ball.
At the other end, however, there were more opportunities but no more success.
The best chances for the home team came midway through the first half and early in the second half.
In the 31st minute, freshman forward Nadia Gomes stole the ball off a WSU defender and drove in for a 1-on-1 chance against WSU keeper Gurveen Clair. Clair made a great kick to deflect Gomes's shot, then another defender knocked the follow by BYU sophomore midfielder Elena Medeiros wide of target.
In the second half, one of the few corner kicks from the home team resulted in a great header by sophomore forward Ashley Hatch, but Clair was their to punch it over the top.
A few minutes later, BYU junior midfielder Marissa Nimmer lofted one of her patented left-footed shots only to have it strike the crossbar and bounce out.
At the end, BYU players were getting very tired as they played their second overtime game in three days.
"I think Taylor (Isom) and I were the only ones to play every minute of both games," Amos said. "When it went to overtime, it was like, 'Shoot, we're tired.' You have to have the mental toughness to push through."
Still, neither team cracked and thus BYU now has two tied on the young season.
"It does give you confidence because you didn't lose," Amos said. "There is still improvement to make. We can still get there because we haven't hit our peak yet."
BYU next heads across the country to play at Tennessee on Friday at 7 p.m.