(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
The No. 6 BYU women’s soccer team opened up the regular season with a dominating 3-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Friday night at South Field.
“I was really proud of the team and the way we came out,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We wanted to come out with a lot of energy and put Fullerton on their heels. I thought we did a good job of that.”
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BYU was led by senior midfielder Rachel Manning, who scored two goals on the night.
“Scoring feels great and it’s always great to be back on the field,” Manning said. “We have been working hard all summer and it is great to see the hard work paying off.“
The Cougars threatened from the onset as Colette Jepson Smith’s header in the first minute required a fantastic save from Fullerton goalie Lindsey Maricic. The pressure continued as BYU had four corners in the first four minutes of the game and nine in the first half.
Fullerton challenged BYU keeper Erica Owens for the first time in the 25th minute on a shot by Christina Burkenroad but Owens made a diving save to her left to preserve the scoreless tie.
In the 26th minute, the Cougars broke through when Paige Hunt served a free kick into the box and Manning’s header beat the keeper to the right corner of the goal.
BYU held a 1-0 lead going into halftime as well as a 9-4 shot advantage.
The Cougars struck early in the second half on a breakaway, as Ashley Hatch touched the ball just passed Maricic at the edge of the box in the 48th minute. She was set up by a Cloee Colohan assist.
Fullerton broke through in the 74th minute on a goal by substitute Ali White, who ran down BYU defender Avery Calton from behind, stole the ball then beat Owens one-on-one.
The Cougars extended the lead to 3-1 when Manning scored her second goal of the night in the 78th minute, putting a penalty kick past the keeper in the left corner of the net. The penalty kick was set up when Hatch beat Fullerton defender Morgan Batcheller and then was taken down in the box as she was shooting. Batcheller drew a yellow card on the play.
The Cougars return to action at home on Saturday, Aug. 31 hosting Big Ten powerhouse Nebraska followed by a trip to Louisiana State University on Monday, Sept. 2 to take on the No. 22-ranked Tigers.