Conference Tournament Play Begins Thursday for BYU

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The No. 8 BYU Cougars (16-2-2, 6-0-1), as the 2009 regular-season title holders, will play their first MWC tournament game on Thursday at 3 p.m. at South Field.

The Cougars hold a 15-3-1 all-time record in MWC tournament play. They've recorded six shutout wins, six tournament championships, seven first-round byes and six tournament MVPs since the inception of the Mountain West Conference in 1999.

Freshman Carlee Payne leads the Cougars with 12 goals and 46 shots. Payne has scored a goal in 12 of BYU’s 20 games this season, two of them coming against conference opponents, and has started every game this year for the Cougars.

Sophomore goalie McKinzie Olson recorded her 10th shutout win of the season, to reach a new career-high, in BYU's final game of the 2009 season against Wyoming. Olson has recorded three shutout wins over top-25 ranked teams, five over conference opponents and two over non-conference opponents. Olson has started every game for the Cougars, playing a total of 1878:28 minutes, and only allowed 11 goals all season.

Junior Kassidy C. Shumway recorded her seventh goal of the season against conference opponent Wyoming in BYU’s final game of the season. In BYU’s last seven games, Shumway has scored five goals. Shumway leads the team with the number of shots she’s taken and is second on the team for the number of goals scored. Shumway was recently named MWC Player of the Week on Nov. 2.

Senior Andrea Willis anchors a Cougar defense that has only allowed 11 goals this year. Willis was the first defender on the team to score a goal in the 2009 season and recently recorded her second goal in BYU's shutout win over Wyoming. Willis is on the 2009 Hermann Trophy Watch List for her defensive efforts.

The Cougars will play Thursday against the winner of Wednesday's match-up between New Mexico and Wyoming.

The Lobos finished the regular season ranked fourth in the MWC. BYU's last meeting with New Mexico came on Oct. 15 at South Field with the Cougars coming out on top with the 3-0 shutout win. The Cougars are undefeated against New Mexico in conference play.

The Cowgirls finished the regular season ranked fifth in the MWC. BYU's last meeting with Wyoming came on Halloween at South Field with the Cougars coming out on top with a 2-0 win giving BYU its 10th shutout win. Cougar forward Auna Janis has a sister, freshman Shalayne Janis, on the Wyoming team.

Thursday's game can be seen live on The Mtn. with commentary from Bill Riley and Mark Rogondino. Live stats can be viewed through the women's soccer schedule page.

The championship game, scheduled for noon MT on Saturday, Nov. 7, will be streamed live on The Mtn.’s Web site (www.themtn.tv) and air on the linear network via same-day tape delay at midnight MT. It will also be re-broadcast at 2 p.m. MT on Sunday, Nov. 8.

All-Session Tickets and single-game tickets for the MWC Women’s Soccer Tournament are now on sale online at byutickets.com.

Prices for all-session tickets: $20 for reserved seating; $15 for adults in general admission; $12 for students in general admission. Children age five and under are free. For information, please call the BYU Marriott Center ticket office at 800-322-BYU1

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