Let The Games Begin
This weekend the No. 24 BYU women's soccer team kicks off its ninth season with back-to-back home games against No. 17 Michigan on Friday and Colgate on Saturday.
The games are the first in a season that will see the Cougars play 13 of their 19 regular season games at home, with Michigan being the first of four teams to be ranked in the top-25.
The Wolverines finished their 2002 campaign with a 16-7-1 records and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. While the team has only five athletes returning from that squad, the team also returns 16 letterwinners.
Since 1998 Michigan and BYU have met on the field two times, with BYU winning the first meeting 2-0. In their last meeting, the Wolverines defeated the Cougars 2-1 in Ann Arbor, Mich., this year BYU will be looking to return the favor as Michigan travels to Provo.
For BYU and Colgate, it will be the first meeting between the two schools. The Raiders are coming off of a 7-9-2 season a year ago that saw them tied for third in the Patriot League. Colgate has five returning starters but 14 letterwinners returning to this year's team.
Friday's game against Michigan will be broadcast from South Stadium on KBYU and BYUTV with kick off at 7:00 p.m. (MDT). On Saturday the action gets underway against the Raiders of Colgate at 7:00 p.m., also at South Stadium.
The Last Time
On the first road trip of the 2002 season, the BYU women's soccer team lost 2-1 to then No. 18 Michigan on Labor Day in Ann Arbor, Mich. The loss came after the Cougars' 2-1 upset over No. 2 Portland in Provo.
Aleisha Rose scored the Cougars' lone goal against Michigan on a direct kick past Michigan keeper Suzie Grech. The goal, came in the 11th minute and gave BYU a 1-0 edge. In the second half, the Cougars were able to penetrate the Wolverine defense and, on several occasions, took solid shots at the goal but couldn't convert.
Michigan's Stephanie Chavez scored in the 48th minute to tie the game 1-1 on a set piece after BYU forward Lydia Ojuka picked up a yellow card. The Wolverines made the game-winning goal in the 61st minute when Abby Crumptom scored the game winner.
NSCAA Places Cougars No. 24 in Preseason Poll
National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced its preseason rankings for NCAA Division I schools with BYU weighing in at No. 24.
The Cougars, who finished the 2002 season with a No. 23 ranking, are the only Mountain West Conference school to make the preseason top-25.
Also making the cut are four teams on the Cougars' regular season home schedule, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 17 Michigan, No. 19 USC, and No. 21 Florida.
"We are looking forward to hosting four ranked teams at South Stadium," said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood, "Playing top caliber teams will challenge our squad, and provide great games for the fans to come and see."
Cougars Picked Second in MWC Preseason
The Mountain West Conference announced its 2003 preseason poll Monday with the league's coaches selecting BYU to finish second behind Utah.
One point and one vote separated the Cougars and the Utes in the voting, with BYU totaling 33 points and three first place votes, while Utah grabbed 34 points with four first place votes.
For the 2003 season BYU returns eight starters and 11 letterwinners while the Utes return six starters and 14 letterwinners.
MWC Preseason Coaches' Poll
Pl. Team (1st pl. votes) Points
1. Utah (4) 34
2. BYU (3) 33
3. New Mexico 26
4. UNLV 19
5. San Diego State 18
6. Air Force 9
7. Wyoming 8
Four-straight MWC Titles
With a 2-1 win over Utah in the final game of the regular season, BYU ensured itself a fourth-straight MWC Regular Season Championship.
The Cougars first goal of the game came in the 41st minute on a header by sophomore forward/midfielder Kimmie Davis. Senior forward Jeni Willardson-Viernes put BYU up 2-0, scoring her sixth game-winning goal of the season in the 64th minute on a pass from junior All-American Aleisha Cramer-Rose. Utah's only goal came on a penalty kick by Ute forward Shauna Gurr-Bingham.
Going into the MWC Tournament the Cougars earned a first-round bye before defeating San Diego State 9-2 in the second-round. The win advanced BYU to the championship game where they came out on top of New Mexico 5-1, winning their fourth consecutive MWC Championship title.
To date, the Cougars remain the only team in the MWC to ever win the either conference crown.
Rose Named Preseason All-America
On Tuesday, Soccer America announced its 2003 preseason All-Americans, and heading up the list is three-time All-American senior Aleisha Rose of the BYU women's soccer team.
Rose, a native of Lakewood, Colo., is one of the most decorated athletes to ever play for the Cougars and has been an integral part to the team's success the past three seasons.
Now entering her final year of eligibility, Rose has helped the Cougars win three Mountain West Conference titles, was named the 1999 National High School Player of the Year, the 2000 MWC Freshman of the Year and the 2000 ESPN/Soccer Times Freshman of the Year, the 2001 MWC Player of the Year, has been placed on the All-MWC first-team and the MWC Tournament all three years, and has received three All-America citations.
Rose is one of 11 athletes that makes up the 2003 Soccer America preseason All-American list.
Cougar Awards in 2002
NSCAA ALL-AMERICAN: Aleisha Cramer-Rose, 2nd Team
NSCAA All-West Region: Aleisha Cramer-Rose, 1st Team; Jeni Viernes, 1st Team; Brooke Bowman, 3rd Team
SOCCER BUZZ ALL-AMERICAN: Aleisha Cramer-Rose, 3rd Team; Brooke Bowman, Freshman 3rd Team
SOCCER BUZZ ALL-WEST REGION: Aleisha Cramer-Rose, 1st Team; Jeni Viernes, 1st Team; Brooke Bowman, All-Freshman Team
MWC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jeni Viernes
MWC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Brooke Bowman
MWC FIRST TEAM: Aleisha Cramer-Rose, Jeni Viernes, Brooke Bowman
MWC SECOND TEAM: Annie Hoecherl, Charlene Lui
MWC TOURNAMENT MVP: Jeni Viernes
MWC TOURNAMENT TEAM: Aleisha Cramer-Rose, Jeni Viernes, Jennifer Fielding-Henry, Brooke Bowman
MWC ACADEMIC ALL-CONFERENCE: Brooke Bowman, Aleisha Cramer-Rose, Jennifer Fielding-Henry, Katherine Gabbart, Britney Holman, Charlene Lui, Terra Smith-Bigelow, Jeni Viernes
The Streak Stops at 13 Wins
After starting the season 3-5, the Cougars pealed off 13 consecutive victories, including seven road wins. The Cougars attempt for 14 straight fell short as BYU lost to Utah in the first-round of the NCAA Women's College Cup. It was the Cougars' first loss to the Utes in the program's history. The Cougars 13 game victory streak is the second longest in BYU history, with 14 being the record.
Last Game: 2002 NCAA 1st Round
An incredible tying goal by senior Jeni Viernes with 12 seconds left in regulation was not enough in BYU's first-round NCAA Women's College Cup match against Utah. The Utes scored with one minute remaining in the first overtime period to win 3-2 in Provo Thursday night in front of a frenzied crowd of 1,513.
With a little over one minute left in the first overtime, Ute defender Maren Harper tapped the ball to senior Megan Maxwell on a free kick. Maxwell then placed a high arching shot over Cougar keeper Mandy Gott for the win.
Utah (13-3-3) struck first at the 35:10 mark when Missy Dennis chipped a shot over a sliding Gott to give the Utes a 1-0 lead.
BYU (16-6-0) answered with less than two minutes left in the first half when junior All-American Aleisha Cramer-Rose fired a shot from 25 yards out that glanced off a Ute defender and past Utah keeper Lynnsey Asay.
After Katie Tate found the upper-left corner of the net to put Utah up 2-1, the Cougars fought back with a flurry of shots and offensive pressure until Viernes' scored with only 12 seconds remaining. Utah went on to win in overtime 3-2.
For the past eight years South Stadium, formerly South Field, has been the battlefield for the Cougars as they have taken on, and defeated, the top teams in their conference and in the NCAA. The Cougars have amassed a 61-11-1 (.840) record at home, a record that is among the best in the nation over the same time period.
Of those 61 home-game wins, an outstanding 38 have ended in a shutout. The Cougars consistently hold their opponents scoreless when playing at South Stadium with 52.8 percent of all their games ending in shutout victories, while BYU has been shutout only four times in the stadium's history.
The Stadium's crowds consistently rank in the top 15 in the NCAA for the largest crowds in the country. With an average attendance of 1,075 fans during the 2002 campaign, the Cougars had the 15th largest attendance average in the country making South Stadium one of the toughest places for opponents to play in college today.
The Rockwood File
In only eight short years, head coach Jennifer Rockwood has taken the BYU women's soccer team to national prominence and established herself as one of the premier coaches in Division I soccer today.
Rockwood currently ranks eighth in winning percentage among active NCAA coaches with an impressive 142-39-3 (.780) overall record for her career, with the likes of Anson Dorrance, John Walker, Chris Petrucelli, Becky Burleigh and Clive Charles being the only coaches ahead of her. Over the last seven seasons, Rockwood has averaged 18.85 wins per year, an average that has her ranked second behind only Anson Dorrance of North Carolina.
In eight years as head coach, Rockwood has guided the Cougars to five conference championships. After going undefeated in conference play and winning their fourth straight Mountain West Conference title last season, the Cougars managed to remain the only team to win the conference title in the history of the MWC.
On the national scene, Rockwood and her teams have made six consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and reached the "Sweet Sixteen" in 1998 and 2000. Under the watch of Rockwood, the Cougars have also had seven consecutive top-25 finishes including last season's No. 23 finish.
Among the many achievements and awards she has received over her career, Rockwood has been honored with two Coach of the Year citations, one by the Western Athletic Conference in 1996, and then by the MWC in 2000. She also became the first MWC coach to eclipse the 100-win total mark when the Cougars shutout Milwaukee-Wisconsin 2-0 on Sept. 23, 2000.
Under Rockwood's tutelage, a long list of All-American soccer players has emerged from BYU's program. These athletes include Aleisha Rose, Jeni Viernes, and Michelle Jensen. Among the players who have been coached by Rockwood are four athletes that were drafted by the women's United Soccer Association: Shauna Rohbock, Maren Hendershot, Sara Reading, and Staci Reynolds.
Prior to becoming the head coach, Rockwood led BYU's highly successful club soccer team for seven years. In that time she amassed an overall record of 128-25-9, and in the final two years she took her teams to the Western National Collegiate Club soccer Association (NCCSA) title and placed second in the NCCSA National Championships.
The Lake Oswego, Ore. native was a three-sport athlete in college playing soccer, basketball, and track. After one year at Ricks College on a basketball scholarship, she transferred to BYU where she became a four-year starter at center midfield on the Cougars' club soccer team. Rockwood has also coached in the Utah ODP, youth club programs, and at the high school level.
Year W L T Conference
1995 11 8 1 WAC
1996 22 1 0 WAC
1997 19 4 0 WAC
1998 20 5 0 WAC
1999 21 4 0 MWC
2000 19 4 1 MWC
2001 14 7 1 MWC
2002 16 6 0 MWC
Total 142 39 3 (.760)
BYU club team under Rockwood:
128-25-9 (.790), six years (1989-1994)
ROCKWOOD AMONG COACHING ELITE
Rockwood currently ranks eighth in winning percentage among active NCAA Division I coaches with an impressive 142-39-3 (.780) overall record for her career. Anson Dorrance, John Walker, Chris Petrucelli, Becky Burleigh and Clive Charles are the only coaches ahead of her. Over the last seven seasons, Rockwood has averaged 18.85 wins per year, an average that has her ranked second behind only Anson Dorrance of North Carolina.
This season's incoming class of Cougar freshman can be expected to make strong contributions to the team, with five of the nine recruits hailing from Utah.
With the loss of some key defenders from last year's squad, expect freshmen Claire Thomas and Nicole Jensen to make an immediate impact for BYU.
Jensen was a 2002 All-State selection out of Denver, CO, and Thomas was a 2002 and 2003 Barons All-Tournament Team selection as well as a 2002 second-team All-Palomar athlete.
Among the Utah athletes headed to BYU is the 5A MVP in 2002 Elizabeth Affleck out of Alta High School and the two-time 4A MVP Courtney Asay from Mountain View High School.
The Cougars' incoming class ranks along side with the best classes the school has ever had. Affleck and Bobbi Tillotson were both members of the 5A State Championship Alta High School, and Asay, Haylee Cuthbert, and Ali Williams all played for the three-time 4A State Championship Mountian View Bruins.
Fans got their first chance to see the 2003 Cougasr in action during an exhibition game that saw seven different Cougars score a goal on the way to a 10-0 win over Nevada-Reno.
Junior Krissa Campbell and senior Jennifer Fielding alternated goals to start out the game, scoring two goals apiece and putting the Cougars up 4-0 in only the 23rd minute. Freshmen Annie Zwahlen and Amberlea Anderson got in on the action as the two each scored a goal in the closing minutes of the first period to put the Cougars up 6-0 at half time.
In the second period, and playing with mainly their reserves, the Cougars continued to push the ball as Zwahlen scored her second goal of the night off an assist from Anderson and freshman Courtney Asay.
Asay then scored a goal of her own and 30 seconds the Cougars scored another goal as junior Erin Stock booted in a shot.
In the closing seconds freshman Bobbie Tillotson scored the final game of the game and helped send the Cougars into the regular season with a strong 10-0 win.
Home Sweet Home
The 2003 regular schedule is set to be one of the best home game schedules in school history. The Cougars will be playing 13 of their 19 regular season games at South Stadium. Highlighting this season's home schedule will be three teams that finished in the 2002 NSCAA top-25: No. 11 Michigan, No. 10 Tennessee, and No. 22 USC. BYU will also host four teams that are ranked in the NSCAA preseason top-25: No. 14 Tennessee, No. 17 Michigan, No. 19 USC and No. 21 Florida.
In the past home field advantage has paid great dividends for the Cougars as the team has amassed an impressive 61-10-1 record at home. In the those games BYU has managed to shut out its opponent 38 times, while losing only four games in a shutout.
Also included in the home schedule is the 1998 NCAA Championship team, Florida, as well as in-state rivals Southern Utah, Weber State, and Utah. The Cougars and Utes will face-off in the final regular season home game for BYU on Nov. 1 at South Stadium.
With seven teams on the regular season schedule that qualified for the 2002 NCAA Tournament, this year's schedule promises to be one of the most competitive seasons for the Cougars who finished No. 23 in the NSCAA final rankings last year and are No. 24 in the NSCAA preseason poll.