In 2011 the BYU women’s soccer team made a name for itself in its new home, the West Coast Conference. Chosen to finish tied at second place with Santa Clara in the preseason poll, the Cougars knew they had a lot to live up to as the new kid on the block.
During the challenging season, the Cougars faced four teams ranked in the Top-25 and six programs that would eventually compete in the postseason 2011 NCAA Women’s College Cup.
The Cougars kicked off the season with a road test against No. 19 University of Washington where a 2-2 double-overtime tie proved BYU could score against talented teams but also showed they had a little work to do. The team returned home the following week for a convincing 4-0 win over rival Utah and a tough 0-1 loss to Miami.
Three straight wins at home over Idaho State, Cal State Fullerton and the University of Arizona, and a 0-0 tie against Rice boosted BYU’s confidence before they hit the road again.
In BYU’s first five home games, over 18,000 fans filled the stands to see the Cougars play. With a 3,738-average attendance at home through five games, BYU easily sat atop the NCAA attendance records.
On the road again, and with just four games to go before league play, the Cougars tackled one of the biggest challenges of the season in Big 12 opponents No. 2 Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, the Cougars just weren’t quite able to keep up and feel 1-2 at OSU and 0-2 at OU.
In its final two games before league play, the Cougars returned home and defeated the University of Idaho in a 5-0 decision and Utah State 1-0.
BYU finished fourth in the conference after going 5-2-1 in all games, falling only to San Diego and Pepperdine. The Toreros who would eventually make a trip to the Elite Eight and the Waves played in the first round.
First up for the Cougars in conference was No. 8 Pepperdine at home. BYU held the Waves to single-digit shots but an early goal gave Pepperdine the lead they needed for the win.
Up next, BYU tied 0-0 on the road against Santa Clara before winning three straight against Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount and San Francisco.
In its final home game of 2011, BYU hosted the top of the WCC in the University of San Diego. The Dons had won five-straight games previous to their matchup with BYU and they were outscoring their opponents 29-15. A late goal put the Dons on top and the Cougars couldn’t catch up. The teams finished with nine shots each while senior goalkeeper McKinzie Olson made five saves.
BYU’s regular season ended with a 4-1 win over Saint Mary’s, leaving the Cougars to await an invitation to the College Cup. Unfortunately, an invitation was extended to four WCC teams but BYU wasn’t one of them. The Cougars had participated in the postseason tournament six-straight years before 2011.
Preseason All-WCC Team: Carlee Payne
WCC All-Academic Team: McKinzie Olson, Carlee Payne
WCC Honorable mention: Lauren Anderson Cosby, Stacy Bartholomew, Dana Oldroyd
All-WCC First Team: Lindsi Lisonbee
All-WCC Second Team: Carlee Payne
All-WCC Honorable Mention: Colette Jepson, Rachel Manning, McKinzie Olson
All-WCC Freshman Team: Jaiden Thornock