PROVO, Utah – An Elena Medeiros goal in the 21st minute was all BYU needed to defeat Utah Valley in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday at South Field. The win was BYU’s fourth straight NCAA playoff victory at South Field.
“I’m really proud of the girls today,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “Any time you get to the NCAA tournament you know it's one and done so it puts a lot of pressure on both teams. I’m really proud of the way we played and the way we prepared.”
The winning goal for BYU came when Jocelyn Loomis found WCC Player of the Year Nadia Gomes just outside of the UVU box. Gomes dribbled around a defender before passing to Elena Medeiros who put it past the Wolverine goalkeeper into the bottom left corner of the net from the top of the box.
The goal was Medeiros’ eighth of the season and 14th of her career, while Gomes recorded her fourth assist of the year, helping the Cougars to remain undefeated at home this season.
The Cougars' first scoring chance of the game came off a corner kick by Maddie Lyons in the 5th minute. The kick was fielded by Bizzy Philips who took a close range shot that was saved by UVU goalkeeper Jessica Duffin.
BYU’s Paige Hunt was given a yellow card in the 27th minute after a tie-up in front of goalkeeper Rachel Boaz, resulting in a Wolverine free kick. The free kick was taken by UVU’s Kasandra Anderson but was blocked by the Cougar wall and cleared out of the defensive zone preserving the BYU shutout.
With 20 seconds remaining in the half Medeiros had another scoring opportunity off a redirected shot from forward Ashley Hatch. After trapping the ball, Medeiros fired a shot from just inside the box that went wide of the goal.
At halftime BYU led UVU in shots 10-4. Play was very physical with UVU committing 12 fouls to BYU’s 3.
In the second half, the Cougars kept up the offensive pressure. In the 53rd minute, Madie Lyons broke free from the defense and fired a shot beyond the 40 yard mark that sailed right.
Hatch had her first shot on goal in the 75th minute when the ball bounced off the head of the last UVU defender. Hatch controlled the ball off the bounce before firing a shot that was saved by Duffin who finished with five saves in the match.
UVU made a late attempt to try and tie the game when Breanna McCarter's shot found its way through the Cougar defense but sailed right of the net in the 76th minute.
In the 81st minute, McCarter again broke through the BYU line and fired another shot from the right side that was stopped by Cougar goalkeeper Rachel Boaz. Boaz finished with three saves on the night to give BYU its 14th shutout of the year and keeping the Cougars as the nation's leader in goals against average.
BYU finished the game outshooting UVU 18-7. The game had 22 total fouls with UVU committing 16 and BYU committing six. UVU’s Lexi Felis and Kali Stubbs both received yellow cards in the second half.
The Cougars will travel to face top-seeded Stanford in the second round of NCAA play this Thursday. Earlier this season, BYU fell to Stanford 1-0 in Palo Alto on Labor Day.