FULLERTON, Calif. — A second-half goal by Bella Folino secured BYU’s 1-0 win against Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night at Titan Stadium in the 2022 regular season opener.
The Cougars have now won five consecutive season openers, dating back to the 2018 season.
“It feels fantastic to get that first win of the season," said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "It was a hard-fought battle tonight, and we did a lot of good things out there. Obviously, we would have liked to have a few more goals, but I thought the girls performed really well tonight."
BYU’s defense held the Titans to just five shots, one of which was on frame and only allowed three CSUF corner kicks in 90 minutes. The Cougars gave the Titans defense a tough fight, earning 27 shots, 10 on goal and one finding the back of the net. BYU also earned 10 corner kicks against Cal State Fullerton.
The Cougars applied pressure right from the beginning of the game, and in the fourth minute, Brecken Mozingo played a perfectly-placed ball into the left side of the box off a corner kick to Folino whose header was just wide of the goal.
BYU held possession of the ball and had early chances on goal with three shots on frame within the first 10 minutes of the game. The Cougars' pressure on the Titan defense also earned three corners within the first 15 minutes.
In the 21st minute, BYU had a free kick 30 yards out taken by Kendell Petersen that found Jamie Shepherd who just missed high over the crossbar with a header. In the following minute, Rachel McCarthy also had a good chance with a header tipped over the crossbar by Titan goalkeeper Allison Poole.
Cal State Fullerton tried to answer back in the 28th minute with a strong run up the right flank and a forced corner kick. Defender Laveni Vaka won the ball in the air, which ricocheted off a Titan forward for a BYU goal kick.
The Titans had their first shot of the game in the 31st minute. BYU answered back with a run up the spine by Mozingo, who passed the ball out to Allie Fryer wide left. Fryer’s attempt to send the ball into the box was stunted by Titan defenders who cleared the ball up the field.
Approaching halftime, BYU’s freshman Fryer got the ball at the top of the six for a shot that just missed off the left post. Despite three shots taken late in the half, BYU struggled clearing the ball out of its defensive third. After several moments of BYU defensive hesitation and a giveaway within the eighteen, Titan forward Collette Ledden had the first shot on goal for her team. The ball was sent directly into the arms of BYU senior goalkeeper Savanna Mason.
Freshman defender Izzi Stratton came up with three possibly-goal-saving plays late in the second half as Cal State Fullerton’s offense began to apply more pressure.
Although BYU outshot Cal State Fullerton 14-2 in the first 45 minutes of play, the score remained 0-0 going into the half.
Within the first minute of the second half, the Titans earned themselves a corner kick, which was sent out of bounds for a BYU goal kick. The Cougars answered back with a corner of their own that was cleared out of pressure by Cal State Fullerton’s defensive line.
The Cougars continued to apply the pressure earning two more shots in the box and a corner by Ellie Maughan. Knocked out by Cal State Fullerton, Zoe Jacobs won the ball back and sent a deep cross over to Folino whose header found the back of the net for a 1-0 BYU lead in the 61st minute.
The assist for Jacobs marked her first career point and Folino’s goal marked her 24th career goal and first of the 2022 regular season.
Cal State Fullerton tried to answer back with a long ball up the middle of the field. BYU defender Olivia Smith was able to win the foot race and clear the ball without too much pressure from the Titan offense.
In the 88th minute, the Cougars had their 10th corner kick of the game. In a final attempt on goal, Shepherd’s header in the box was blocked on the goal line by the Titan defense.
Despite Cal State Fullerton’s high pressure through the last 15 minutes of the game, the Cougars were able to hold their 1-0 lead and secure the season-opening win.
BYU next takes the field Friday, Aug. 26 as the Cougars travel to Columbus, Ohio to face the Buckeyes at 6 p.m. EDT. The game will be carried live on the BYU Sports Network — BYURadio.org/BYU Radio app/BYU Radio 107.9 FM.