BYU women’s soccer and volleyball fans have a tough decision to make on Friday.
Both ranked programs are in action on campus in the evening: The soccer team at South Field in its home opener against Southern Utah and the volleyball team at the Smith Fieldhouse, just 20 yards away, against crosstown rival Utah Valley.
Actually, fans really can’t lose with either choice.
The Cougar volleyball team is ranked No. 9 in the country. The soccer team began the season out of the top 25 but voters were obviously watching last week, when BYU traveled to SEC country and earned victories against Alabama and Mississippi State. This week, the Cougars are No. 14 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll.
BYU junior midfielder Makayla Colohan scored game-winning goals in both games. Colohan’s early counter was the only score in the Cougars’ 1-0 win at Alabama. Two nights later, Colohan broke a 1-1 tie at Mississippi State with just over five minutes to play to secure a victory. For her efforts, Colohan was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week.
“Mikayla has really worked on scoring,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “It was a perfect shot (against Mississippi State) and one we really needed because the clock was running down. We had a lot of good looks and we needed to be a little bit more on frame, but I was pleased with our energy and the culture of the team, especially on the road. Everyone contributed and the energy on the bench was really good. We got some great minutes from our bench and younger players, so we had a lot of great takeaways.”
BYU scored just three goals on 25 shots in the two games, but Rockwood is confident her club will start finishing their opportunities.
“We’ve been focusing on our defense and our press because both are so important from our standpoint,” Rockwood said. “Even though we had a lot of returning players we’ve spent a lot of time on defense to fine tune everything. Yesterday (Tuesday) was the first day we kind of turned the page to our attack.”
The Cougars should be completely healthy for the Southern Utah game. Senior defender Rachel Lyman sat out the Mississippi State game to rest a sore hamstring and sophomore forward Bella Folino, who scored six goals last season, is back to practice after recovering from a hip flexor.
As for BYU fans, they will likely fill both the Fieldhouse and South Field.
“It’s super exciting to be playing at home,” Colohan said. “When we get a big crowd at South Field it’s unlike anywhere else. The volleyball team is so fun to watch, too, so hopefully we’ll have enough fans for both.”