Late goal beats Cougars

No. 6 BYU suffered its first loss of the season, 1-0, to UCLA Irvine before 4,672 fans. (Photo by BYU Photo/Bella Torgerson)

UC Irvine scored a goal with 30 seconds left to upset the No. 6 BYU women’s soccer team Saturday night at South Field.

Irvine senior forward Natalia Ledezma snuck the game-winning goal past BYU goalkeeper Erica Owens. Owens came out of goal, but Zoya Farzaneh passed the ball to Ledezma who was able to get the shot off. The Cougars scrambled in the final seconds for a scoring chance but came up short to suffer their first loss of the season.

“We just need to pick our heads up and play a little bit better,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We’re just not playing with as much confidence as I think we should be, so we have to give a lot of credit to Irvine. They took us out of a lot of the rhythm that we usually can get, especially at home on offense.”

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Both BYU (4-1-1) and UC Irvine (4-3-0) finished with eight shots a piece, below the Cougars’ season average of 18. Cloee Colohan attempted three free kicks in the game with one that barely missed the upper-right corner with 10 minutes left before the half.

BYU played solid defense in the first period, pressuring the ball to stay on the defensive end of the field. BYU managed five shots in the first period alone, but could not come up with a goal.

The game’s attendance of 4,672 fans marked the fifth largest in BYU history and kept the team motivated through all 90 minutes. With three minutes to go before the half, the Cougars pushed forward. Sarah Chambers took a shot that was saved at the left post leaving both teams scoreless at halftime.

BYU goalie Erica Owens was dominant in the air against UCI. Owens had three saves but cut off several crosses into the box. She went down hard in the 53rd minute when Ledezma and her collided going for a ball. Ledezma was carded on the play.

BYU will remain at home this week to host Oklahoma on Thursday at 7 p.m. on South Field.

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