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BYU on the road at Nebraska

Sep 05, 2015 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 12:17 am | Updated: September 5, 2015 8:22 am | Permalink

Following team and position meetings and a walk-through in Provo Friday morning, the BYU football team departed for its season opener at Nebraska. 

The team went to Memorial Stadium after landing for a chance to get a walk through on the playing field in Lincoln. After getting acclimated to Nebraska's home field, the Cougars participated in a fireside later in the evening in Omaha.

More than 1,800 people gathered at the Omaha Stake Center to attend the fireside, which was also broadcast to seven neighboring buildings in Sioux City, Kearney and Lincoln. Friday's fireside included talks by senior defensive lineman Graham Rowley, senior defensive back Michael Wadsworth and head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

After freshman linebacker Scott Huntsman offered the opening prayer, Rowley spoke about putting trust in Heavenly Father. Wadsworth related aspects of playing football to making sure in life you do all the small things correctly because they matter the most. 

Following the two players, the team held a question and answer with the team. Athletic director Tom Holmoe, quarterback Taysom Hill, defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, defensive back Micah Simon and wide receiver Mitch Mathews all answered various questions regarding things playeres had learned from football, missions, favorite scriptures and various other topics about the team. Coach Mendenhall also answered questions and shared a personal experience about the power of priesthood blessings.

A musical number from several players singing the hymn, "Nearer My God To Thee" preceded Mendenhall's closing remarks. Mendenhall shared thoughts from President Ezra Taft Benson about seeking the Spirit in all that we do, emphasizing that spirituality is the greatest need we have.

"The entire team sang the closing song, "We'll Bring The World His Truth," and senior wide receiver Devon Blackmon offered the closing prayer. 

When the fireside concluded, the team remained in the foyer and outside the building to shake hands, sign autographs and take photos with fans attending the fireside before heading back to the hotel to retire for the night in advance of game day on Saturday. 

Getting to Know: Jherremya Leuta-Douyere and Kurt Henderson

Sep 03, 2015 - Posted by McKay Perry at 11:58 am | Updated: September 3, 2015 3:22 pm | Permalink

Jherremya Leuta-Douyere

(Jeremiah Lay-oo-tah Doo-yair)
Senior linebacker

Major: Sociology, I like working with kids

Stadiums you're excited to play in: Rose Bowl- to play in front of family will be cool—and Michigan

One thing people don’t know about you: I’m a quarter French

Your name – where it came from: It came from my mom’s cousin, like a brother maybe? He passed away when he was young. The spelling was regular, so my mom modified it to make it unique.

Other sports: Baseball – I thought it would be my main sport. Once I got the offer from BYU to play football, I stopped playing baseball.

Favorite pro athlete: Kobe Bryant

Favorite movie: Sione’s Wedding- polynesian version of Napoleon Dynamite

Favorite actor: "The Rock" a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson

Favorite food: Ohana Grill

Three things you did in the offseason: Played ping-pong, went back to California to visit family and friends, went to the beach

Who you look up to: My parents for all they have done for me, going through struggles and being able to provide

Nicknames from the team: JLD. Nickname growing up was kind of girly so only certain people are allowed to call me it, Mya

Pre-game ritual: Listen to reggae music, stay calm, get taped by the same guy no matter how long the line is, eat the same breakfast – very superstitious

Favorite football memory: When I was a sophomore in high school I use to live in Texas and we transferred to California and we won the state championship and not a lot of people get that opportunity.

Kurt Henderson

Senior wide receiver

Major: Business Management

Stadiums excited to play in: All-any stadium close to family, but nothing beats LaVell Edwards Stadium. I am excited for the Big House and the home opener at Nebraska.

One thing people don’t know about you: I come from a family of six and we’re from southern Utah, but we’re all scattered including my parents. My parents are serving as mission presidents in the Brisbane Australia mission.

Your name – where it came from: Named after Uncle Kurt who was a musician. He had two daughters and no sons.

Other sports you played: Baseball, basketball, football, wakeboarding and snowboarding. 

Musical instrument: Play the tuba

Favorite pro athlete: Jerry Rice – he’s so detail-oriented and he demands his best

Favorite movie: Gladiator (edited of course)

Favorite actor: Mel Gibson (what he does on the camera not off)

Favorite food: Anything his mom cooks, something fresh from the garden and something really healthy. There’s some kind of seasoning she uses and there’s some love to it.

Three things you did in the offseason: Golf, internships and spending time with receivers 

Who you look up to: Dad – He’s a guy that’s so consistent that I know I can trust him. I look up to people by how trustworthy they are.

Nicknames from team: Kurtle, Dink, Hendy

Pre-game ritual: Make objectives for games: mental goals and expectations for the game. Visualization, stay relaxed, play music and read scriptures. Do whatever keeps peace.

Favorite football memory: Being part of the BYU football team. The friendships I’ve made on this team, that’s something I’ll remember forever.

BYU's next three opponents have seen South Field at its finest

Aug 27, 2015 - Posted by knielsen at 12:15 pm | Updated: August 27, 2015 12:57 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – BYU women’s soccer's next three opponents all have one thing in common, they have been the opponents for the attendance record at South Field for eight of the past nine years.

Friday’s opponent, Colorado, came to Provo in 2006 as the 21st ranked team in the nation and became the first opponent to play in front of 4,000 fans at South Field. The 4,742 fans saw the 18th ranked Cougars win 3-2 and broke the previous South Field attendance record by nearly 1,000 fans.

Six years later, No. 6 Penn State played in front of 4,922 BYU fans as the Cougars built up momentum for their 2012 Elite 8 run. 

The following season in the second home game, Monday’s opponent, Nebraska came to Provo the final day of August. The Cornhuskers faced off against the No. 6 Cougars in front of a new record of 5,108. It is still the 24th best attended NCAA regular season game in NCAA history. It was also the first time 5,000 fans packed South Field. BYU won 3-0 and also recorded the 100th shutout at home in program history.

A week later, rival Utah, BYU’s Sept. 4 opponent, returned to South Field once again to face No. 6 BYU. The crowd reached 5,402 spectators and an 88th minute penalty kick gave the Cougars the victory. That record has stood ever since and is the 15th best attended regular season match in NCAA history.

As a rivalry, Utah and BYU is one of the top attendance draws in the nation. The past three games (two in Salt Lake City and one in Provo) have set the attendance records for the home team. Only six other rivalries have drawn 5,000 fans to a game in the regular season. The 2013 crowd for BYU-Utah is behind three USC vs. UCLA games played in the LA Coliseum and a Texas A&M vs. Texas game played in Austin. Only one campus facility in the nation has hosted a rivalry game which drew more fans than South Field did in 2013.

The other rivalries to draw 5,000 fans include UNC vs. Duke, Portland vs. Santa Clara and BYU vs. Portland. Both Portland games were held at Merlo Field.

Preseason Recap

Aug 21, 2015 - Posted by knielsen at 12:10 am | Updated: August 21, 2015 11:16 am | Permalink

Meet the Freshmen

Aug 20, 2015 - Posted by knielsen at 11:59 pm | Permalink

If you haven't already, get to know the 2015 freshmen with the signing class release along with what's new with them now that they're on campus for the 2015 season.

Cassidy Smith

Sabrina Macias

Madie Siddoway

Brianna Hatch

2015 Signing Class

Freshman Quick Kicks: Brianna Hatch

Aug 19, 2015 - Posted by knielsen at 11:19 am | Updated: August 19, 2015 3:41 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – Freshman Brianna Hatch certainly has the name value that comes with having a highly visible older sister, Ashley. Even though Brianna has followed Ashley to Provo, she’s done it in her own way.

The jumping off point would be the Arizona State Playoffs last winter. Her Highland High soccer team was in the state semifinals. Hatch scored a game-winning goal in the first period of overtime to send Highland to the state title. 

Not four days later overtime came and almost went. Hatch found the back of the net with 6.4 seconds left before a shootout would have been required. The championship goal wasn’t as interesting as the time was though.

“The thing I remember most was there were only 6.4 seconds left in the game,” Hatch said. “I scored and they were like ‘There’s only 6.4 seconds left Bri’ and I was ‘Yeah right’ and then I looked at the clock. It was pretty crazy.”

The two goals came four days apart and were “probably the two best moments I had in my life.”

The state championship does give her a little edge on her older sister.

“I do feel like my high school career was better than hers,” Brianna said. “Ashley did win a state championship, but I won two.”

Brianna is used to following Ashley, but has had two years to find her own way while Ashley has been in Provo. Brianna verbally committed to the Cougars the summer before her junior year, which was the first month of Ashley’s time in Provo.

“I’ve just been working even harder, especially since Ashley has been gone,” Brianna said. “I’ve been working harder on my own. I’ve tried playing with guys as much as I could to make me better.”

Now that Brianna is back alongside Ashley the comparisons will return, but she’s ready for them.

“I guess there’s a little pressure, but it gives me more fuel to fire up and just be better and try to be better than her. 

“That would be sweet.”

Freshman Quick Kicks: Madie Siddoway

Aug 19, 2015 - Posted by knielsen at 10:39 am | Updated: August 19, 2015 10:48 am | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – Freshman midfielder Madie Siddoway was able to close out her club soccer experience the way she wanted to before arriving in Provo for her debut season with the Cougars.

Siddoway and her La Roca teammates had the opportunity to reach their dream goal, the US Youth Soccer Club National Championships. They were one of eight teams in the nation to qualify by winning at regionals in Boise, Idaho, to advance to nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the last week in July. La Roca won its group and advanced to the semifinals. 

“Playing at nationals was an amazing experience,” Siddoway said. “We had never been there before, but that had always been the dream to be there. It was a phenomenal experience to play with teams of that caliber at the youth level.

“It was amazing to go out like that for sure. That’s what we had wanted and had worked for, so it was a great experience for the team.” 

For a soccer player from Utah, Siddoway hasn’t taken the usual route to Provo. The majority of players from Utah high schools come from Salt Lake, Davis, Weber or Utah counties. Siddoway is only the second Cougar to hail from Cache Valley. She played club soccer in Cache County originally before taking up with La Roca.

“Ever since I was young and played in Cache Valley, I had dreamed of coming to BYU because they have such a great soccer program and are a great school,” Siddoway said. “Club in Cache Valley helped me get there and La Roca helped med get there. 

“Another inspiration to me was Cami Jensen. She was a great mentor for me, we were both from Logan and we’re the only players to come from Cache Valley down to BYU. Ever since I was young, I had dreamed of playing here and it's amazing to be here finally.”

Freshman Quick Kicks: Cassidy Smith

Aug 11, 2015 - Posted by knielsen at 10:12 am | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – BYU freshman goalkeeper Cassidy Smith had a little more competition growing up than most young soccer players. As one of three triplets, she had to make sure she was playing the position she wanted.

“I remember our first rec game and my sister was chosen to play goal,” Smith said. “I begged her for it and I’ve kept playing it I liked it so much.

“It looked like such an important position, so when I was little I was like ‘Give me the most important spot.’”

She played for Lone Peak High School in Alpine, Utah, and was named Ms. Utah Soccer by the Deseret News and to two All-West Region teams along with an Academic All-State honor.

Growing up just up the road from Provo, Smith is ready to start having those experiences that come with playing Division I soccer at BYU.

“I’m looking forward to starting games,” Smith said. “Getting to be on South Field with the team, feeling some energy and excitement, that’s been a dream since I was little. I’m just excited to get started.”

The wait has been almost a decade if not longer.

“I’ve wanted to come since I was 8 years old and started soccer,” she said. “It started out in cubs camps, I’d come with all my friends and as I got older I got more intense obviously.”

Freshman Quick Kicks: Sabrina Macias

Aug 10, 2015 - Posted by knielsen at 5:04 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah – BYU freshman goalkeeper Sabrina Macias isn’t going to be as unique on this year’s BYU team as she has been growing up, but she will be having a year unlike most.

“I’ve grown up and always been the only member (of the church) on the team,” Macias said. “It was hard to find people with the same values as you. Being here is awesome because I’m around girls that have the same values as me.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to – the spiritual aspect.”

Having more in common with her teammates is a plus, but she probably won’t be suiting up for a full practice any time soon as she recovers from an offseason surgery.

“Mentally, it’s pretty tough, but at the same time I’ve already had two surgeries and I’ve overcome both those and come back stronger,” Macias said. “Coach said he wants me around the goalkeepers (at practice). I wouldn’t say it’s an advantage, but I know what to expect with coach, so it gives me hope to know what I need to do and what I need to look forward to when I’m about to start playing again.”

Her time as an observer will hopefully be well spent as have been her invitations to youth national team camps for the United States. While representing her country was nice, the extra training was better.

“It’s really competitive,” Macias said. “You’re surrounded by girls who are at the same level you are. Every camp I went to they taught me something new every time I was there. What’s so cool about it, is playing for your country, but what’s better is you’re developing as a player and that’s probably what I loved the most when I was at camp.”

Macias joins Ashley Hatch, Nadia Gomes and Carla Swensen as Cougars who have youth national team experience with the U.S., Portugal and Colombia, respectively.

This week, Macias was named to the Preseason Freshman Team, even though she won’t be competing this year. For the full release visit

Hatch and Hunt named to Preseason Award Shortlist

Jul 27, 2015 - Posted by knielsen at 10:15 am | Permalink

Junior forward Ashley Hatch and junior defender Paige Hunt were named to the 2015 College Soccer Award Preseason Award Shortlist. Hunt was named to the Defender of the Year shortlist, while Hatch was named to the Forward of the Year shortlist.

Hunt was an NSCAA All-West Region Second Team selection and started every game at center back for the Cougars before leaving to serve in the Indianapolis, Indiana mission. She scored a goal and made two assists from the backline in 2013.

Hatch scored 18 goals and made six assists during her sophomore campaign where she was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2015. Last year, she had a top five season in BYU history in goals, shots and points. Her five multiple goal games were the second most in a season in BYU history and her hat trick against Portland was the first at BYU in nine years. She was also top 10 nationally in goals and points per game and total goals.

BYU opponents who also made the shortlist includes six goalkeepers, five defenders, four midfielders and three forwards. For the full shortlists, visit