Cougars advance to Sweet 16

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – Senior Carlee Payne Holmoe scored on a penalty kick with 44 seconds left in the game to give the No. 1 seed BYU women's soccer team a 1-0 victory over Auburn Friday night at home in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament. With the win, the Cougars advance to the Sweet 16 to play No. 4 seed Marquette this Saturday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m MST on South Field.

This is BYU's first time back in the Sweet 16 since the 2003 campaign when the team made a run to the Elite Eight before falling to Connecticut. 

“Obviously at this time of year every game gets bigger and bigger,” said head coach Jennifer Rockwood. “I’m proud of these girls; it was a tough battle tonight against a very strong defensive Auburn team. We know tonight is a very big win and we're excited to move on to the next game.”

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With under a minute left in the second half, Michele Murphy held the ball near the end line by Auburn's goal. She turned to send the ball in front of the goal and was fouled just inside the box, resulting in the PK for Holmoe.

“Of course I had nerves, but I was confident that I could put the ball where I wanted it,” Holmoe said. “It was one of those moments in my career that I will never forget.”

The first half was a defensive battle with both teams registering single-digits shots. Rachel Manning and Jessica Ringwood both had two shots as the Cougars tallied six in the half, placing four on goal. The Tigers were limited to only three shots in the half, placing one on frame.

BYU had its best chance at goal about halfway through the first half when Ringwood sent a volley from the top of the box that Auburn's goalie punched away. The Cougars went into halftime scoreless for just the sixth time this season.

After the break, BYU put the pressure on and kept the ball on its attacking end. The Cougars registered 11 shots in the half, putting six of them on goal, while holding the Tigers to just two in the second 45 minutes.

“Defensively we played really solid and didn’t allow Auburn to turn on us,” Rockwood said. “We knew they were a great counter-attack team so we wanted to make sure that we didn’t let their counters go and I thought our back line did a great job of that tonight.”

BYU's game on Saturday against Marquette will be broadcast live on BYUtv and streamed live online on byutvsports.com.

Addition Quotes: BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood
"I thought we came out really strong in the second half and all of our girls put forth great effort. I can't imagine the pressure Carlee (Payne Holmoe) felt when she stepped up to take that penalty kick but she's been working on those every single day this fall. She stays after practice to work on those so we're fortunate she had the opportunity to put that away."

"We talked at halftime about that last pass before taking a shot. We were doing all the things we had talked about before the game, things that had made us successful all year, but we were just a little bit off stride. We didn't get as many shots off as we typically do but credit goes to the girls for not getting frustrated and for continuting to work."

"With this team, one thing that is different from teams in the past, is that this team believes. They have found everyway possible to score this year and each time someone else has stepped up. We have found ways to win games and that's what special teams do. We want people to chase us. These girls do a great job of continually moving the ball and I think everyone has such great confidence that those goals could come from anyone at any time." 

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