(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah – BYU women's soccer kicked off its season Wednesday night with its annual Blue and White scrimmage. The White team won 1-0 in a game that saw many players play for both sides.
Sophomore Elena Medeiros scored the game's only goal on a cross from freshman Nadia Gomes in the first of three 25 minute periods. Gomes brought the ball down the left sideline and crossed it across the box to Medeiros who put it into the back of the net from about six yards.
The game was the first opportunity for fans to see this year's Cougar squad and an opportunity for the BYU coaching staff to evaluate players and combinations.
"We told [our players] we were looking for three things today," head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "We were looking for composure and people who made quick decisions...We were also looking to get in behind. We have such great, creative speed up front, we need to use our forwards going forward. I thought in that third period both teams were trying to get in behind."
The most excitement came in the final period as both teams turned up the intensity and pressed the ball. For the White team, Ashley Hatch took a free kick from about 40 yards out that Blue keeper Hannah Clark had to reach to deflect. That deflection found the feet of Gomes who rifled a shot that off the post.
On the other side, Blue midfielder Miranda Bailey drilled a shot that White keeper Katherine Snyder made a diving save on. Forward Niki Fernandes also got free on a breakaway, but Snyder came out to make a sliding save. Later in the period, forward Camille Green shot one just wide past the outstretched hands of Snyder.
The most intriguing storyline at this point in fall camp is who will be starting at keeper for the Cougars. After projected starter Hilary Kaufusi was injured for the season, the door was opened for redshirt freshman Hannah Clark and senior Katherine Snyder. Both keepers played well tonight with Clark making six saves and Snyder making 10.
"Both keepers have been training really well and know they have a huge opportunity in front of them," Rockwood said. "I thought both of them did a great job tonight. Kat made a great save and Hannah came out well."
Heading into the season, Rockwood believes the team's greatest strengths are the team's speed and depth. The Cougars will look to use both to play high-pressure and high-tempo games to overwhelm opponents.
"I was excited to see the girls out battling," Rockwood said. "We just have a lot of talent. We are really fast. Our girls are better than they were last year. The ones that have returned have worked hard and our freshmen add a layer of competition."
The Cougars will host an open practice for the public on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at South Field. Fans will be able to watch practice from on the sidelines of South Field and the younger participants will be able to play short field games at the end of practice with the players. There will be merchandise giveaways and a player meet and greet, as well.
BYU plays another scrimmage on Saturday against a team full of BYU alumni at South Field. The game kicks at 7 p.m. and can be heard on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on BYUCougars.com and the BYU Cougars iOS app.