(Photo by BYU Photo/Mark Philbrick)
PROVO, Utah - In front of a record-breaking crowd of 4,922, the No. 24 BYU Women’s Soccer team upset No. 6 Penn State 3-1, Saturday, on a game-winning goal by senior Jessica Ringwood.
The win marks the Cougars' (6-1) second victory over a ranked opponent this season, after defeating No. 11 Long Beach State in the team’s home opener last week. A win over a sixth-ranked team is the second-highest ranked team the Cougars have beaten in the program's history. The highest-ranked team BYU has ever defeated was No. 3 Portland in 2002.
“We really knew that we had to come out strong tonight," said head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "Penn State is such a great team, so much talent, and so much experience that we knew we’d really have to be at our best. Anytime you can beat a team like Penn State or a top-ten ranked team, it’s big for your program.”
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The Cougars came out strong in the opening minutes of the first half putting consistent pressure on the Nittany Lions. BYU got its first goal of the game in the 13th minute, as Jaiden Thornock sent a crossing pass to Ringwood who slipped the ball past the Penn State goalkeeper.
Fueled by their first goal, BYU continued to put pressure on Penn State and generate multiple scoring chances. Penn State was held scoreless until the 29th minute when Mallory Weber tallied an unassisted goal dribbling the ball at the top of the penalty box and squeezing a shot past goal keeper Erica Owens.
Late in the first half Owens made a strong save, deflecting Kindra Kohne’s shot off the right goal post to preserve the 1-1 tie at half. Owens came up big for the Cougars when they needed her and made five saves to keep Penn State's goal count at one.
Ringwood was a strong offensive presence for the Cougars in the first half, tallying three of BYU’s six shots. Penn State finished the first half with seven shots on goal.
The Nittany Lions came out strong in the second half, controlling possession and generating a consistent offensive attack early on. Fending off the Nittany Lions’ early surge, the Cougars continued to battle, led by senior Carlee Payne Holmoe. At the 54th minute, Holmoe crossed the ball to Ringwood, who knocked in her second goal of the game.
Less than two minutes later freshman Michele Murphy converted another Holmoe crossing pass and headed the ball over the Penn State goalkeeper. Murphy’s fourth goal of the season extended the Cougar lead to 3-1.
Down the stretch, Owens provided a strong performance in front of the net for the Cougars. Penn State had an opportunity to get back in the game late with a penalty kick but came up short as Christine Nairn sent the ball flying wide left.
“I think this [win] puts us back out there,” Ringwood said. “Last year was disappointing not getting into the NCAA tournament, but we’re definitely making a name for ourselves, so it’s exciting,”
The Cougars resume play at home on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. against Cal Poly. The game will be televised nationally on BYUtv.
The game can also be followed on the BYU women's soccer Twitter page.
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