(Photo by Bella Torgenson/BYU Photo)
PORTLAND, Ore. - The No. 24 BYU women's soccer team won their fourth straight game upsetting No. 6 Portland 1-0 on Saturday night at Merlo Field.
Freshman Ashley Hatch was in the right spot for the game winning goal off a cross from Paige Hunt in the 78th minute.
Hunt intercepted a pass 10 yards behind midfield, centered the ball to Cloee Colohan who found Colette Jepson Smith just past midfield. Jepson Smith played Hunt down the sideline. Hunt crossed the ball to the top of the 6-yard box. Niki Fernandes' left tapped it to Hatch who poked it in with her left foot for the lead.
"Paige made an amazing run all the way down the field," Hatch said. "I just tapped it in for her."
The Cougars (11-4-1, 5-1-0) have defeated the No. 6 team in the country in consecutive seasons, taking down No. 6 Penn State last year. The win is also their fourth straight shutout and fifth in their last six games.
"Paige and Annie (Amos) played the best game of their college careers tonight," BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "They were closing down and stepping in front of great forwards all night."
Portland took three shots in the following 12 minutes but didn't put either on frame. Portland possessed a cross in the box in the 90th minute and a back pass opened Micaela Capelle up for a good look on goal but her shot went just over the crossbar.
"We've been making progress the past five games," Rockwood said. "This won't but help our confidence going forward."
To start the second half, the Cougars had a few chances but couldn't capitalize. Fernandes intercepted a pass in the Portland third and had an open run to the top of the box. A good look didn't materialize, but the Cougars did earn a corner kick. Colohan also had a nice look on a free kick from a handball in the 55th minute, but again nothing came of it.
Neither Portland nor BYU could find a goal in the first half. The Cougars outshot the Pilots four to two in the opening 45 minutes. After Portland possessed the ball for much of the first five minutes, BYU controlled the game better through the rest of the first half, but neither side came up with any points. Colohan and Hatch each took two shots with one on goal in the first half.
Erica Owens didn't have to make any saves in the opening half, but came off her line twice, once to snuff out a cross and another time to clear a ball at the outer edge of the 18 with under a minute left in the half. Owens made two saves in the game and recorded her eighth shutout of the season.
Both teams received yellow cards that bookended the goal. Lorielle McCluskie earned one in the 77th minute when she and Owens collided in the box going for the same corner kick. Ashley Hatch earned hers in the 79th minute attempting to get around a defender to a through ball.
This week, BYU hosts travel partner San Diego Friday at 7 p.m. MDT at South Field. The game will be televised on BYUtv.