IRVINE, Calif. - The BYU women's soccer team began its 2012 season in dramatic fashion, Friday, with a 3-2 overtime victory on the road against UC Irvine.
Sophomore Jaiden Thornock got the golden goal in the 98th minute for the BYU victory. Thornock tallied one goal, one assist and one shot in the game.
Since 2007 the Cougars have started the season away from Provo going 5-0-1 in those years, including three overtimes where the team went 2-0-1. The three goals scored against the Anteaters are the most scored in a season opener since 2005.
The Cougars started the game off with back-to-back shots from seniors Carlee Payne Holmoe and Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall but it was junior Niki Fernandes who got BYU on the board first. A pass into the box from teammate Jaiden Thornock set Fernandes up perfectly to sneak the ball past the UC Irvine goalie and put BYU up 1-0 in the 29th minute.
The Anteaters got their first shot of the game, on goal, in the 31st minute, but BYU goalkeeper Erica Owens came up with a big save to keep the Cougars in the lead. Owens finished the game with four saves.
Freshman Michelle Murphy put the Cougars up 2-0 with her first career goal in the 53rd minute off an assist from defender Dana Oldroyd. Murphy finished the game with two shots.
UC Irvine's Rachel Wood squandered BYU's shutout hopes with a penalty-kick goal in the 72nd minute after a handball foul was called and her Anteater teammate Jordan Utvich tied up the game 2-2 with a goal in the last minute of regulation time.
BYU continues soccer action on the road next week with two matches against Pac-12 foes. The team is at Arizona on Aug. 23 and at instate rival Utah on Aug.25.
Season opener on the road at UC Irvine
PROVO, Utah - The BYU women's soccer team opens its 2012 season on the road against UC Irvine this Friday, August 17. The event is the season opener for both teams.
BYU has played the Anteaters just twice in the program's history. The last time the two teams met was back in 1997 at UC Irvine with the Cougars coming away with a 3-2 victory.
The Cougar squad returns seven starters in 2011 All-American and Hermann Trophy Candidate Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall, Scholar All-American Carlee Payne Holmoe, seniors Jessica Ringwood, Ashley Bazzarone & Dana Oldroyd Cusick, and juniors Rachel Manning & Niki Fernandes.
BYU was chosen fourth in this season's West Coast Conference Preseason Poll with Cutshall and Holmoe included on the All-WCC Preseason Poll.
The Anteaters are looking to win their third-straight season opener with a win in 2011 over UT-San Antonio and in 2010 against Idaho. UC Irvine was chosen to finish second in this year's Big West Big West Preseason Poll after finishing first in 2011 and 2010 in the regular season. Heading into this season UC Irvine lost an overall six starters, including three of the team's best defenders which gave up just six goals in eight league games last season. Junior Natalia Ledezma is going to be the top returnee for the Anteaters with more than five goals last season.
Live stats for the game are available through the UC Irvine women's soccer schedule page.