PROVO -- Playing before a crowd of 1,955, the ninth-ranked BYU women's soccer team narrowly defeated the University of Utah, 1-0, Saturday night in Provo.
The victory was BYU's second straight conference win and sixth shutout of the season, but hardly came easily. The teams fought through a scoreless first half, in which the Cougars recorded just five shots to none by Utah.
"It was a battle tonight," said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "We matched up well athletically. It was a little closer than I like it, but a win's a win."
After struggling to find the net, the Cougars finally connected midway through the second half when Maren Hendershot broke away and connected on a long kick. Hendershot missed action Friday night due to an injured quad muscle but returned to provide the Cougars with the offensive spark it needed against the Utes.
"That was one of the best goals of her career," said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "We needed to shoot more from the outside, and that's how she got her goal."
Much of the game was spent battling for possession. BYU is averaging over 23 shots a game, but managed just 18 against the Utes. Utah didn't get a shot off until 15 minutes into the second half, and finished with eight in the game.
With the win, BYU continued its domination over the Utes, who have yet to beat the Cougars since they began NCAA play in 1995.
"I'm proud of that. We hope to keep up the tradition," Rockwood said. "Unfortunately, we may have to play them again."
BYU also maintained its perfect conference record this season, improving to 2-0 and 13-2 overall. Both conference wins have been shutouts. Utah fell to 7-5 on the season, 1-1 in the conference.
BYU faces two more conference rivals this weekend, travelling to UNLV and San Diego State Thursday and Saturday.
BYU 1, Utah 0
BYU - Maren Hendershot, 64:57 (assisted by Athelia Graham and Kim Lowe)