San Diego, Calif. (Nov. 4, 1999) -- A penalty kick and the game winner by Sara Reading gave BYU's women's soccer team a 4-3 advantage over the University of Utah in the first semifinal game at the first-ever MWC Women's Soccer Championships, Thursday.
In the other semifinal game it was San Diego State against the Air Force Academy with hosts San Diego State picking up the 3-1 win, setting up a showdown between the Aztecs and Cougars for the MWC title on Saturday afternoon. SDSU defeated BYU 2-0 earlier this year.
The Cougars struck early and fast getting two goals in the span of four minutes early in the first half. A red card against Utah's Jen Williams for intentionally using her hand to stop a BYU goal, gave junior forward Sara Reading the opportunity to put in her first and the team's first penalty kick of the year. And that's exactly what happened as Reading put the ball perfectly in the far left corner of the goal, giving the Cougars a comfortable 3-0 lead in the 34th minute of the game.
"The first 25 minutes of this game was the best soccer we've played," said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. "We had outstanding play by our starting lineup and played solid soccer."
Kim Lowe drilled one in from 25 yards out after receiving a pass from teammate Sarah Higham for the early 1-0 lead. Four minutes later it was 2-0 in favor of BYU with another strong goal by Orem's Athelia Graham.
The second half was another story. Utah came out strong with just 10 players on the field after Williams's red card, and that seemed to spark the Utes as they got two quick goals in a four minute span to make the game more interesting 3-2 in the 61st minute of play.
Reading's header goal off a corner kick from Karen Wunderli put BYU out in front 4-2 at the 67 minute mark. But the Utes would not give up. With just under 14 minutes to play, Utah's Katie Tate managed to get by a BYU defender bringing the Utes within one, and that's how the game ended a 4-3 decision in favor of the second seeded Cougars.
"We played a little bit tight in the second half," added Rockwood. "Once they (Utah) stepped it up a notch we got a little rattled, but the girls fought through it and battled back."
The Cougars and Aztecs will meet Saturday, at 12 p.m., at the ARCO Olympic Training Center for the first MWC women's soccer title.
Date: Nov 4, 1999
Weather: 80 degrees, clear
Goals by Period 1 2 Tot
Utah................ 0 3 - 3
BYU................. 3 1 - 4
1. 8:41 BY LOWE, Kim (HIGHAM, Sarah) - 25-yard rocket
2. 12:14 BY GRAHAM, Athelia (READING, Sara/ROBBINS-WUNDERLI, K) - Corner flicked on, scored
3. 34:34 BY READING, Sara (penalty kick)
4. 56:53 UT GURR, Shauna (unassisted) - Defender giveaway
5. 61:40 UT BURT, Staci (KOFOED, Amy) - Flip throw-in finished
6. 67:00 BY READING, Sara (ROBBINS-WUNDERLI, K) - Header off a corner
7. 75:53 UT TATE, Katie (unassisted) - Long run on goal
Shots: Utah 10, BYU 22
Saves: Utah 10 (HILLS, Courtney 10), BYU 3 (WALDRON, Jennifer 3)