VENICE, Italy – Two goals in the first 20 minutes set the tone for BYU in its 8-0 win over Italian Serie A side Permac Vittorio Veneto Wednesday evening at the Marco Polo Sports Complex, north of Venice.
BYU got two-goal efforts from Elena Medeiros, Ashley Hatch and Madie Lyons, while Michele Vasconcelos and Avery Calton contributed singletons as the Cougars improved to 2-0 on their four-match playing tour of Italy.
“The girls played well,” head coach Jennifer Rockwood said after the game. “Anytime you score early, it just gives you a little bit more confidence and it takes some of it away from your opponent. We scored a couple of goals nice and early and played a real smart game.”
Having spent the morning and early part of the afternoon touring the canal-carved city of Venice, the Cougars carved up the home team’s defense and posed an offensive threat from the get-go.
Medeiros opened the scoring in the 16th minute, receiving a pass in the penalty box from a hard-working Hatch, who two minutes later won the ball from a Vittorio Veneto defender near the end line, turning the takeaway into a solo-effort goal and a 2-0 lead.
BYU extended the advantage in the 22nd minute when Jocelyn Loomis found Medeiros in the slot for her brace. The Cougars’ fourth goal came after a well-weighted lead pass from Brittain Dearden to Loomis, who again had the final helper as Vasconcelos converted deep in the 18-yard box. A fifth goal came just before the halftime whistle when Loomis ended a right-flank run with a far-post cross to Lyons, who made no mistake in giving BYU a 5-0 lead at the interval.
Calton got her name on the scoresheet in the opening minute of the second half, blasting a shot from five yards outside the penalty area to make the score 6-0. Lyons led Hatch with a perfect lead pass that she converted in the 65th minute; Lyons then got past the Vittorio Veneto back line and calmly finished in the 81st minute to provide the final margin.
“We just wanted to go forward, something we forgot to do in the first half of our first game,” said Rockwood, “and the girls kind of just started where they left off in the second half (of Monday’s 3-0 win in Milan). We’re a good, dangerous attacking team, we’ve got great speed and we worked this entire last semester on our finishing. I think it has really showed in our spring games this year.”
“The connection was there between the forwards and midfield and backs, for sure,” said Loomis of the BYU attack. “We just had some great runs up the wing and we were able to find the slotting ball back, for easy tap-in goals.”
“It was so fun to go tour (Venice) and be blessed with a game at the end of the day.”
After playing two games in 48 hours, BYU will not play again until next Monday, in Naples. A Tuesday match in Rome will conclude the Cougars’ playing journey.
“You come on these trips to experience how beautiful Italy is, but also play some great soccer,” noted Rockwood on Wednesday. “I think that will propel us into our fall season as we gain some more confidence scoring.”
The BYU travel party began the day at its team-hotel headquarters at Padua, before a bus ride and short shuttle-train trip to Venice. A guided walking tour took the team through labyrinth-like streets and alleys, and over the canals of this ancient island city. Saint Mark’s Square and its legendary Basilica were highlights of the tour, as was sightseeing at and around the legendary Grand Canal.
“It was an amazing day,” said Rockwood. “To spend a day in Venice--such a beautiful, special place. We’ve been on our feet all day, then we come play soccer. I’m a little tired, but the girls are fine. It’s been a great visit so far, with some great games, and more to come.”
“It’s a great opportunity,” Loomis said of touring Italy while playing the game she loves. “You don’t get this chance very often, to see different places and iconic architecture, cultures and people. It’s amazing and not something you see every day.”
The team will on Thursday travel to Florence for a single night's stay before heading farther south to Rome and the picturesque Amalfi Coast for the weekend. Follow every day of the Cougars’ tour by visiting the BYUCougars.com women’s soccer page, and also via the team’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Senior forward/midfielder Michele Vasconcelos:
We started our day early with a delicious breakfast. The croissants are amazing here and I ate three chocolate-filled ones today. We got to explore Venice on a walking tour and then on a water taxi. It was unbelievable and was everything I had hoped for and dreamed of.
Miranda Bailey-Topham had a run-in with the black market and talked a guy down on a $65 bag to $30 but the police came in and broke it all up so she didn't get her bag, sadly.
We played a game tonight and were able to score five goals in the first half and three in the second, ending the game at 8-0. We finished the night with a yummy dinner together where the chef brought out a customized pizza with the words written "I Love Brigham" on it. The chef was excited to give it to us and that was fun to see.
Redshirt freshman defender Alyssa Jefferson:
Today we had the opportunity to go to Venice! I had originally thought Venice was just canals and gondolas, but it had this amazing cathedral and clock tower right in the middle of St. Mark's Square. The architecture and design amazes me, and every time they tell us what era the buildings or art pieces are from I laugh a little knowing that our country was not even a country then.
My favorite part of the trip is definitely the gelato, but from today, the gondola ride was one for the books. We floated past an 800-year-old building as well as Vivaldi's Venetian home. The gondoliers were exactly as I'd hoped with the striped shirts and sun hats--the only down side being that he wouldn't sing! We finished the day with a victory on a nice green field surrounded by mountains and nice cool weather.