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Women's Soccer Blog

Women's soccer NCAA tournament daily blog

Nov 21, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 8:58 am | Updated: November 21, 2016 10:15 am | Permalink

BYU Photo Gallery

Exposure Photo Essay

Tuesday, Nov. 15

No. 4 BYU women's soccer left for the airport on Tuesday afternoon en route to South Carolina—the site of the second and third rounds of the NCAA tournament.

The team gathered at the Indoor Practice Facility at BYU for a meal from Zupa's together before boarding the bus to the airport. The next seven hours involved getting to the airport, flying to Charlotte, North Carolina, getting dinner and checking into the hotel in Columbia, South Carolina.

A highlight of the flight was a shoutout from the captain, who told passengers that the team, with its No. 4 ranking and impending matchup with Oklahoma, was on board.

The team displayed what coaches have said about their team all season—that it's a fun group to be with on away trips.

Before leaving North Carolina, the team picked up some Southern barbecue at McKoy's Smokehouse. The consensus was that the food was delicious.

By the time the bus pulled up to the hotel, everyone was ready to get some sleep. Wednesday, with the last opportunity to practice and prepare tactically for Thursday's game, would be an important day.

Wednesday, Nov. 16

After breakfast at the hotel, the team went to practice on campus. NCAA concerns about air quality caused practice to be held in the Jerri and Steve Spurrier Indoor Practice Facility.

The pracitice facility is just one year old, with a full 100-yard football field. BYU Photo manager Jaren Wilkey took advantage of an upper walkway to get some nice shots of the impressive venue.

Following practice, the team went to Stone Stadium—the site of the NCAA second and third round games—to walk the field and pose for some photos on the well-manicured field.

That was followed by a trip to Panera, a team favorite, for lunch. The bus drove through some of downtown Columbia, and provided a sighting of the LDS institute building for the University of South Carolina.

A few hours of down time ensued, with the team gathering together for food catered by Carrabba's, with athletic director Tom Holmoe and radio broadcaster Greg Wrubell joining the players and coaches.

Thursday, Nov. 17

The team ate breakfast and then went on a walk to loosen up. After some relaxation, everyone went to lunch at Groucho's Deli as family members who made the trip began to gather together with the team.

Around 12:30 p.m., the team went back to the hotel for the last little opportunity to rest before heading out to South Stadium to prepare for the game at 4 p.m.

The bus arrived to Stone Stadium in the final minute of the South Carolina vs. Mercer men's NCAA tournament game. The players hit the field to warm up.

BYU got goals from Ashley Hatch and Michele Vasconcelos to beat Oklahoma 2-1 in front of an overwhelmingly blue and white crowd.

The tension from before and during the game was tangibly eased as the bus took the team to a new hotel. Everyone was talkative after the win and looking forward to the pizza awaiting in the lobby.

A few hours after the win agianst the Sooners, the Cougars learned they would take on top seed South Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Saturday.

Friday, Nov. 18

Today was another day of rest and practice.

After a breakfast and a few hours down time, the team again went to Panera for lunch. That was followed by a movie for some of the players, and shopping for others. 

At 4 p.m., practice was held, this time at Stone Stadium. The sun set on another beautiful day as the team prepared for the third round game.

There was just enough time for everyone to scarf down some food from Olive Garden before getting ready for a fireside the team held at an LDS church building in Columbus.

The fireside, presided over by the mission president of the South Carolina Columbia Mission, was attended by missionaries, members of the church and investigators. There were musical numbers and talks provided by soccer players and missionaries.

Sabrina Macias, Paige Hunt Barker and Taylor Isom spoke and shared their testimonies. Ashley Hatch, Michele Vasconcelos, Brittain Dearden Steiner and Paige Hunt Barker sang "Nearer My God to Thee," with Elena Medeiros accompanying on the piano. Players and coaches greeted those in attendance after the meeting.

Back at the hotel, the team and parents celebrated Paige's birthday with cupcakes and ice cream.

Saturday, Nov. 19

On the day of the Sweet 16 game, the team had a lot of time to wait before the scheduled kick. It was used to practice, each lunch, rest and then prepare for the game.

Practice was held at the South Carolina soccer practice field, which took BYU through the sporting complex that had the Gamecocks' softball field, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and track.

Later, when the Cougars arrived at Stone Stadium for the game, the stands were beginning to fill with plenty of fans from both teams.

BYU lost 1-0, and it was a tough result to swallow for the coaches and players—especially the seniors. In the postgame press conference, head coach Jennifer Rockwood said this was the best team she's coached, and that she was proud of everyone.

A quick dinner at the hotel preceded just a few hours of sleep. Everyone woke up and met early to drive back to the Charlotte Airport. After about 12 hours of travel (including bus trips and a stop in Phoenix), the team arrived back to Provo safely.

Week 7 Review (Sept. 25-Oct 1)

Oct 05, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 11:41 am | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – In a week with just one game, BYU jumped up to No. 3 in the polls and played what head coach Jennifer Rockwood said was its best game of the season.

Thursday's game with Santa Clara was hard-fought, as has been the case each time the two teams have met. The Broncos left Provo with a 0-0 tie as the Cougars improved their unbeaten streak to nine games. Despite not getting the win, Rockwood was satisfied with how her team played.

Before the game, the Daily Herald previewed the West Coast Conference season. After the tie, the Daily Herald and Deseret News published recaps.

Goalkeeper Hannah Clark notched her sixth shutout since filling in for injured teammate Rachel Boaz.

Week 6 Review (Sept. 18-24)

Sep 28, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 1:24 pm | Updated: September 28, 2016 1:26 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – For BYU, it was another week of local and national attention, with two wins at South Field for the Cougars.

BYU was ranked No. 4 by the NSCAA (coaches) poll, its highest ranking since 2012, when the Cougars eventually topped out at No. 2 in the nation. Top Drawer Soccer and the Hero Sports algorithm both placed BYU at No. 2 for the week.

On Thursday, the Cougars welcomed Denver for a rain-soaked game that was delayed by lightning at halftime. Play eventually resumed, and BYU's offensive barrage produced a 7-0 win. Goals were scored by Nadia Gomes (2), Ashley Hatch, Michele Vasconcelos, Elena Medeiros, Bizzy Phillips Bowen and Elise Flake. The late goal by Flake was the first for a Cougar freshman this season.

BYU Athletics put together a highlight reel.

Two days later, the Cougars were at it again, and played a hard-fought game against visiting Long Beach State. BYU broke through with a goal in the 85th minute on a connection from Jocelyn Loomis to Ashley Hatch. The 1-0 result increased the Cougars' win streak to eight games, which is tied for second-longest in the nation.

Again, BYU Athletics produced a video of highlights.

During the week, several stories were written about the team. Among those was a Fox 13 story on the team, two features (KSL and Salt Lake Tribune) on Vasconscelos and a Daily Universe feature on Taylor Isom and Danika Bowman. KSL recapped the Denver game while the Daily Herald covered the Long Beach State game.

Week 5 Review (Sept. 11-17)

Sep 19, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 11:02 am | Updated: September 19, 2016 11:10 am | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – In two wins, BYU's trio of starting forwards each netted goals for the No. 6 Cougars as they beat No. 19 Ohio State 3-0 in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, and Utah State 3-1 in Logan on Saturday.

Three polls—the NSCAA, Hero Sports and Top Drawer Soccer—all placed BYU at No. 6 at the beginning of the week.

The Deseret News previewed Monday's game with a feature on senior forward Ashley Hatch. The Salt Lake Tribune wrote a story about versatile junior forward Carla Swensen Haslam.

Following their win against the Buckeyes, the Cougars got some good ink from Ohio and national sources:

Ohio State's The Lantern

Soccer America

Head coach Jennifer Rockwood was on BYU Sports Nation to discuss the win and preview the game against the Aggies.

The Cougars punctuated their week with their sixth win in a row and 13th win in 13 games against Utah State.

 

Week 4 Review (Sept. 4-10)

Sep 12, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 10:16 am | Updated: September 12, 2016 10:28 am | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – The Cougars made big jumps again in the rankings entering their fourth week of play, and they backed it up with two wins.

New polls came out in the first few days of the week, and BYU was ranked No. 7 by the NSCAA, No. 9 by Hero Sports and No. 15 by Top Drawer Soccer.

On Monday, the Cougars played at Utah in the Deseret First Duel, and won 2-0 behind goals from Taylor Isom and Ashley Hatch, and a the first career complete-game shutout from goalkeeper Hannah Clark. It was the first time BYU had beaten the Utes on their own field since 2010.

KSL, the Deseret News, the Daily Herald and the Salt Lake Tribune all covered the rivalry game.

The next day, Clark appeared on BYU Sports Nation. Greg Wrubell chatted with head coach Jennifer Rockwood and defender Danika Bowman via Facebook Live.

On Thursday, the Cougars returned to South Field, where they beat SMU 4-0 in their second-consecutive shutout and fourth-straight win. Paige Hunt Barker scored her first goal of the season, Michele Vasconcelos scored twice and Elena Medeiros had a goal for BYU.

BYU Athletics put together a video of the Cougars' highlights against the Mustangs.

Week 3 Review (Aug. 28-Sept. 3)

Sep 05, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 8:05 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – A win at No. 5 Penn State gave BYU confidence headed into its third week of the regular season. That showed as the Cougars erupted for five goals in a home win against Tennessee.

The week started in exciting fashion as BYU was ranked 10th in the NSCAA Poll that came out on Aug. 30. The game on Friday validated the Cougars' ranking as they scored a season-high five goals. Two came from Ashley Hatch, who increased her goal total to eight for the season. Michele Vasconcelos provided two more and Elena Medeiros also had one.

With the win against the Volunteers, BYU improved to 3-1 as it geared up for a quick turnaround at Utah on Sept. 5.

KSL previewed Friday's game with a focus on new starting goalkeeper Hannah Clark.

Elena Medeiros sat down with BYU Sports Nation on Monday. Ashley Hatch previewed the Tennessee game on Friday.

Week 2 Review (Aug. 21-27)

Aug 29, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 5:50 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – The second week of the regular season provided a disappointing loss, a landmark win and again, plenty of local and national attention for the BYU Cougars.

The team opened the week with attention from national polls, highlighted by the No. 14 ranking in the NSCAA poll. That, however, didn't reflect the team's disheartening loss on Monday at home, a 1-0 result against visiting Nebraska.

Following the loss, BYU was positive about the opportunity to hit the road to play the defending national champion, Penn State. Goalkeeper Rachel Boaz talked about that on BYU Sports Nation:

The Cougars stunned the No. 5 Nittany Lions, riding Ashley Hatch's second-career hat trick to a 3-2 win. Hatch scored the first two goals of the game and the game-winner. The result garnered attention nationally from the NCAA and locally from KSL.

Hatch continued her march through the program's record books, moving alone into seventh in career goals with 33, among other accomplishments. Three days after BYU's upset on the road, its leader in scoring was named WCC Player of the Week.

Week 1 Review (Aug. 14-20)

Aug 25, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 11:52 am | Updated: August 29, 2016 5:35 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – A much-aniticipated first week of action was punctuated by BYU's 2-1 win in double overtime at Washington State. Leading up to the game, the Cougars were featured in interviews and articles as they made their final preparations for play.

Here are the Pac-12 Network's highlights from BYU's season-opening win:

With two goals on the night, senior forward Ashley Hatch moved alone into ninth place on the BYU all-time scoring list with 30 career goals. MAC Hermann Trophy candidate Nadia Gomes assisted on the game-winner.

A couple of Cougars got national recognition leading up to the first days of games. Senior Rachel Boaz was mentioned as one of the five toughest goalkeepers to beat by the NCAA. Midfielder Elena Medeiros, also a senior, received Top Drawer Soccer Best XI honors.

Greg Wrubell hosted his first Facebook Live chat with head coach Jennifer Rockwood, along with captains Michele Vasconcelos and Taylor Campbell Isom.

BYUtv produced a promo video for BYU's home opener against Nebraska.

The Salt Lake Tribune and Daily Herald previewed the 2016 season.

BYU opened the season ranked No. 16 in the NSCAA Poll and was picked to win the WCC for the fifth-straight season and had four players (Hatch, Gomes, Vasconcelos and Medeiros) named to the All-WCC Preseason Team.

Rachel Boaz mentioned among toughest goalkeepers to beat in 2016

Aug 17, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 10:03 am | Updated: August 17, 2016 10:09 am | Permalink

The NCAA published a list on its website of the five toughest goalkeepers to beat in women's soccer, and BYU's Rachel Boaz made the cut.

A senior, Boaz helped BYU to 14 shutouts last season, the second-most in program history (15 in 2008). Her save percentage of .907 and goals against average of 0.39 in 2015 are the best in program history by a wide margin. Her 78 saves last season are the second-most in a single season since Dana Wood's 89 saves in 1995.

Mentioned along with Boaz are two MAC Hermann Trophy candidates in Stanford's Jane Campbell and Clemson's Kailen Sheridan. Penn State's Rose Chandler, who the Cougars will face on Aug. 26 is also on the list, with Casey Murphy of Rutgers rounding out the group.

For the article, visit NCAA.com.

Freshman Quick Kicks: Lizzy Braby and Elise Flake

Aug 02, 2016 - Posted by Jack Urquhart at 3:30 pm | Updated: August 2, 2016 3:32 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – A pair of club teammates joins the BYU women's soccer family this fall in midfielder Lizzy Braby and Elise Flake.

Braby, a midfielder from Murray, Utah, followed up successful high school and club careers by playing with the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team in New Zealand this summer. She appeared as a substitute in three games against the host country.

"I think the most rewarding thing was the learning experience," she said of the experience. "I learned a lot about the player I am and also the player I want to become. It gave me motivation to work even harder."

At Murray High School, Braby was a team captain twice and was named to the 4A All-State First Team in 2015 by both the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune. For her club team, Utah Celtic FC, Braby and company were 2015 Utah State Cup Champions and regional finalists.

Playing alongside Braby for Utah Celtic FC was Flake, a forward from Mapleton, Utah.

Flake was a four-time Olympic Develop Program team selection from Utah. She was also a high school captain, at Maple Mountain High School. Shortly before coming to BYU, Flake scored three second-half goals in a comeback win in a regional preliminary club game to help her team to a 4-3 comeback win.

Becoming a BYU Cougar was an easy decision for Flake.

"It's been a dream of mine to come to BYU, both for soccer and school," she said. "It's all I've ever wanted."