Facing the BYU women’s soccer team really comes down to one question: How long can you withstand the Cougars’ relentless offensive pressure?
San Francisco did its best, but eventually succumbed to the onslaught of speed, ball handling and shots — 30 of them — on Thursday. BYU finished with a 4-0 victory in front of 1,875 fans at South Field to stay in the hunt for the West Coast Conference title.
The Cougars — who got a very timely goal from sophomore Makaylie Moore and a brace from leading scorer Elise Flake — have scored 12 goals in their past three matches.
“Keep it rolling,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We came out really strong tonight. It was exciting to see how much energy we had and how crisp and confident we looked.”
BYU (6-1-0 WCC, 11-4-1 overall) dominated play in the first half, pushing into the San Francisco scoring third and continually testing the Dons defense. The visitors held the Cougars off the board until the final 10 seconds of the half. Cameron Tucker sent a ball into the box to Moore, who fired off a shot that USF keeper Molly Ebby deflected back at her. Moore slid into the ball and scored for a 1-0 halftime lead.
San Francisco (3-2-2, 10-6-2) nearly tied the game in the 58th minute. Miciah Madison made a rush to goal but BYU keeper Sabrina Davis came off her line to kick the shot away. Izzie Lueken took a hard shot off the rebound, but Davis smothered the ball to keep USF off the board.
Flake scored her 11th and 12th goals of the season within a minute of each other. She beat two defenders and muscled her way well inside the box for a goal and a 2-0 lead in the 63rd minute. In the 64th, Flake headed in a volley from Lizzy Braby for a 4-0 advantage.
“With my 1 vs. 1 opportunity, I’m always challenged to take those,” Flake said. “I took it straight to goal. The header was a great ball by Lizzy. It was perfectly placed in the right spot.
“Our offense definitely puts them under a lot of pressure. We try to put them in a high press and keep going at them. I think it gets them super tired. I think that’s why we score so many goals in the second half. We just tire them out.”
Tucker put the fourth goal in the board in the 86th minute, racing by a pair of defenders and slotting a shot to the left corner of the net.
“Hopefully our pressure wears them down,” Rockwood said. “We came out pretty strong. Bing (Rachel Lyman) and Lizzy were flying all over the place. You could tell USF was wearing down, but they stayed in it. When you’re only up a goal, you give the other team hope. They came out really strong in the second half, but I love the way our team handled the pressure and kept the zero on the board, then came back and scored some more goals.”
The win sets up a huge match on Saturday against No. 6 Santa Clara (6-1-0, 15-2-1), which topped San Diego 2-1 in overtime on Thursday.
“It’s always a big game for us (against Santa Clara) no matter what the circumstance,” Rockwood said. “When you get a chance to take another step for a conference championship, I’m glad we’re at home.”